France will be playing against Germany on Friday for the opening round of quarter-finals at the World Cup 2014. The common speculation is that France has the edge and appears to be the favorite, and it will likely beat Germany if the latter team doesn't improve its defensive holes as seen the match against Algeria. If France wins the match, it would offset Germany's historic dominance at the World Cups since 1982.
The France vs. Germany game will begin at 9 a.m. PST or 12 p.m. EST and will be broadcasted through the ESPN network on ESPN 2. The match can also be watched online through WatchESPN free live stream at the link below (free for cable subscribers).
Germany had three wins and one draw, beating Portugal 4-0, USA 1-0, and Algeria 2-1, and drawing with Ghana 2-2. France also has three wins and one draw, defeating Honduras 3-0, Switzerland 5-2, Nigeria 2-0, and drawing against Ecuador 0-0.
"We must be better for the match against the French," Jaochim Low, Germany's manager, said after the match against Algeria, according to AFP. "During the first half we were poor, we gave away a lot of ball, which invited Algeria to counterattack us."
France will most likely rely on its striker Karim Benzema, who has led his country with three goals at the World Cup stage. Germany's Andrew Schurrle and Paul Pogba are expected to lead the counter-offense in the Friday's game.
In 25 previous matches leading up to the World Cup, France has won 11 games to Germany's eight, and they have six draws. The teams have similar number of goals, with Germany 42 to France's 41.
Apart from the teams representing major European football heavyweights, their rivalry stemmed from their 1982 matchup, where West Germany won in a penalty shootout after France threw away a 3-1 lead in extra time - that was when the most vicious foul in World Cup history happened.
West Germany's goalkeeper Harald "Toni" Schumacher shoulder-charged France's Patrick Battiston in the head, but made it to appear that it was his hip that made contact. Battiston hit the ground and remained there - next to two of his own teeth.
The referee made no call. Battiston remained in the hospital while Schumacher and Germany advanced to the final, where they lost to Italy. The teams met again four years later in Mexico World Cup 1986, where Germany won 2-0 in the semi-final. That was the last time the teams met.
Despite Germany's dominance in their past World Cup matchups, Germany football coach and former football defender Andreas Brehme told FIFA that France is a "different caliber of opponent."
"Our team hasn't played badly so far and they deserve to be in the quarter-finals. But if we play as we did against Algeria then France will definitely knock us out," he said. "If our team can improve, which I really hope and expect they will do, it'll be a very evenly-balanced match.
"At the end of the day, maybe a world-class player like Manuel Neuer will be the deciding factor. The way he played against Algeria was incredible. In my opinion, he's been one of the players of the tournament so far."
The winner of Friday's quarter-finals opening round will proceed to play next Tuesday against the winning team in Brazil vs. Colombia match played on the same day.
The highly anticipated match will begin at 9 a.m. PST and its free live stream can be watched online at ESPN.