Soccer-Germany's big-game experience may give them edge-Deschamps

Reuters

By William Schomberg

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 3 (Reuters) - Germany's experience of playing high-pressure games might give them an edge when they line up against France in a World Cup quarter-final at the Maracana on Friday, France coach Didier Deschamps said.

"Germany is very accustomed to this competition," Deschamps told reporters on Thursday. "Experience is more on their side, but we will play our game."

France cruised through the group stage of the World Cup in Brazil and then beat Nigeria 2-0 in the first knock-out stage, surprising many fans after Les Bleus only qualified for the tournament via a last-ditch playoff against Ukraine last year.

Germany by contrast have struggled in some of their matches in Brazil and needed extra time to beat outsiders Algeria to reach the quarter-final showdown against their old rivals.

Deschamps downplayed suggestions that France were now in a stronger position than Germany to reach the last four.

"At the start of the World Cup, if you were going to stick the label of favourites on any team, Germany were among them," he told the news conference.

Germany have played in two semi-finals and one final in the previous three World Cups although they have not won the trophy since 1990.

Thursday's encounter conjures up memories of one of the competition's greatest ever matches when Germany defeated France in the first World Cup penalty shootout in Spain in 1982 after the two sides drew 3-3 in a semifinal. Four years later, Germany again defeated France in a semifinal.

"There will be a new page to write tomorrow," Deschamps said when asked about the history of matches between the two former World Cup winners. "We will do everything we can to make sure it is the most beautiful for us."

France goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris said France's players were not letting the burden of the past weigh on them.

"There has been a history between the two nations but we are focused on tomorrow's match," he said.

Deschamps is able to restore Mamadou Sakho to the centre of defence after he missed the Nigeria game with injury, alongside Raphael Varane who suffered from dehydration and spent some hours in hospital after that match but has fully recovered. (Writing by William Schomberg, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

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