Germany coach Loew can't wait for France clash
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Germany coach Joachim Loew fired the first shots on Monday in the war of words that is likely to escalate before the Euro 2016 semi-final clash between France and Germany on Thursday in Marseilles.
Loew said he was relishing the chance to take on the hosts and far from being worried about his increasingly depleted Germany team, he insisted his side would be a force to reckon with at the Velodrome.
"It's great that there's a game like this," said Loew who led Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil in 2014.
"I love playing knock-out games against teams of this calibre."
Germany's last encounter with a host nation in a major competition came at the semi-final stage two years ago in Belo Horizonte. Leading 1-0 from Thomas Muller's goal after 11 minutes, Germany scored four times in six minutes to effectively end the tie against Brazil by half-time. It finished 7-1 to Germany.
No one is expecting a similar scoreline in Marseille especially with defender Mats Hummels suspended and Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira out injured.
"It would be easy to say that we have a few injuries and France are favourites as they played really well against Iceland," said Loew. "But I'm not worried about who the favourite is. That does not matter at all over 90 or 120 minutes.
"It will be like our quarter-final match against Italy: a game of two teams with outstanding individuals. I love games like this."
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