Germany midfielder Thomas Muller has said that his side are not afraid of hosts France whom they meet in the Euro 2016 semi-finals on Thursday.
Germany were engaged in a desparate struggle with a superior looking Italy over 120 minutes of regulation period and extra time in their quarter-final clash before scraping past in a dramatic penalty shootout. On the other hand, France eased to a 5-2 win over Iceland, ending the dream run of the tournament’s surprise package.
The Germans will also be missing key players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Mario Gómez due to injuries while Mats Hummels will sit out with a suspension.
But Muller insists that the reigning world champions have nothing to fear.
“Fear never comes into it,” Muller was quoted as saying by the Guardian on Tuesday.
“We know France have many good players, but Iceland didn’t honestly look that good at the back so if we defend well as a team, we will not let these players get into positions to show their class. We’re respectful, but I’m optimistic (that) we’ll find a solution even if we’ve got some players missing out, which is bitter,” he added.
“This happens in football, there are always injuries and suspensions for big games but you’ve got to compensate as a team.”
Muller also believes that this is one of the best German teams ever and they can compensate for the big names who would be missing out.
“I said before the tournament that I’ve never seen so much depth of quality in our team as we have now so I’m sure we can compensate,” he said.
France have had a kind draw so far, but Muller said the 1998 world champions deserve to make the last four stage.
“France have not got here by luck. But they are now under a bit of pressure too as the hosts, and they know they’re facing a strong Germany side,” the 26-year-old said.
“We were both being mentioned as favourites before the tournament and there aren’t many bigger games than this one.”