The hottest ticket of all four quarter-finals is tonight as expected. Brazil, chasing a record sixth world title, will be in action against Colombia but that is not the game attracting the highest demand. The first quarter-final between France and Germany is a match laden with such rich history that it is a showdown keeping the game’s aficionados in full anticipation.
Matches between the two great football countries – they share four World Cup titles between them - will forever be overshadowed by an infamous incident in their 1982 World Cup semi-final classic, easily one of the greatest matches in the history of football’s biggest tournament.
The match in July, 1982 at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium saw German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher knock out French defender Patrick Battiston with one of football’s crudest fouls in history.
An unconscious Battiston left the pitch with two missing teeth, three cracked ribs and damaged vertebrae yet no foul was awarded against Schumacher by Dutch referee Charles Corver. It is ranked the worst refereeing decision ever.
France led 3-1 in extra time before the Germans levelled and won a shootout 5-4. It was an end-to-end game of intensity, quality goals and drama throughout 120 minutes.
Without doubt it is the kind of game that befitted the 2014 World Cup where matches have produced a remarkable intensity and countless moments of drama.
This will be the first World Cup meeting between France and Germany since 1986 when the Franz Beckenbauer’s side were overpowered 2-0 in Mexico.
France-Germany would be a worthy final of any World Cup, the reason why the ticket to Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium is the hottest property.
France have arguably been the more impressive side in the match to the last eight. The Les Blues were stupendous in their domination of African champions Nigeria on Monday and should have triumphed with a wider margin but for the woodwork and an inspired Vincent Enyeama, the Nigerian shot stopper.
Germany laboured to break down spirited Algerian resistance and required extra time to see off the north Africans.
France’s midfield of Paul Pogba, Blasé Matuidi, Moussa Sissoko and Mathieu Valbuena has controlled all their matches, scarcely looking under the threat of ceding possession. Germany’s midfield is a different kettle of fish.
In fact the Germans are a team of defenders and midfielders with hardly an out-and-out striker. Their only striker at the tournament Mirsolav Klose is a substitute.
Philip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Mario Gotze are midfielders who will be looking to territorially outstrip their fellow Europeans.
Their identical march to the final makes it a hard game to call. France and Germany topped their groups with seven points. The Les Blues scored eight goals while Germany put seven past their opponents. In the goals against column, France shipped in two, same as Germany.
Likewise both sides registered a comprehensive victory against their supposed rivals in the groups; France mauled Switzerland 5-2 while Germany humiliated Portugal 4-0.
That is primarily why French coach Didier Deschamps and his Germany counterpart Joachim Low have spent a considerable time preparing for the likelihood of post-match penalties.
The match could come down to the lottery of 12 yards.