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European heavyweights France and Germany will go toe to toe later today with a place in the last four of the world cup up for grabs.
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Both sides have impressed to date, topping their groups in the opening stages before overcoming potentially tricky last 16 games against African opposition.
France have won three and drawn one of their games to date, beating Honduras, Switzerland and drawing with Ecuador in the group stages, scoring 8 goals and conceding just two before securing their place in the quarter-finals with a late 2-0 win over Nigeria.
The win over the Super Eagles came courtesy of late goals from Paul Pogba and Joseph Yobo (own goal). The turning point in the game came with the introduction of Antoine Griezmann with the Real Sociedad forward adding trickier and movement to a French forward line that up to that point looked laboured.
The 23 year old is now poised to start the crucial clash with the Germans with Oliver Giroud set to move to the bench. The Arsenal man had previously formed a strong partnership with Karim Benzema however he struggled to make an impact against Nigeria.
With the German defence looking slightly laboured and Manuel Neuer playing almost as a sweeper the pace and quick feet of Griezmann will give France more of a threat up front.
Static at the back they appear to be, the German’s have so far, a draw with Ghana aside, beaten all those put in front of them.
An opening day demolition job of Portugal raised expectations that Joachim Low’s side would run away with the cup however since then both the USA and Algeria have shown that they have weaknesses and with the right tactics can be beaten.
Germany hope to defender Mat Hummels back after he missed the win over Algeria due to sickness. The Borussia Dortmund player was one of seven players affected by illness however Low is confident that all will be fit for Friday’s clash.
“Seven players are slightly ill with flu symptoms,” said Low.
“It is not that bad at the moment and it could be partly about air conditioning, the travel, temperature differences.
“I do not want to make a drama of it. We hope the situation will ease.”
Shkodran Mustafi has been ruled of the tournament with a thigh injury however Low is also hoping Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski is fit following a thigh strain.
For France Mamadou Sakho is a doubt with the thigh injury that forced him out of the Nigeria game.