By Greg Stobart at the Estadio Maracana
France coach Didier Deschamps insists his players are not afraid of Germany and are favourites for the World Cup quarter-final clash at the Maracana on Friday.
Les Bleus take on their European rivals in a repeat of the famous 1982 semi-final and Germany’s general manager Oliver Bierhoff has claimed that Deschamps’ side are favourites to reach the semi-finals.
“Of course, I agree,” said Deschamps when asked in his pre-match press conference whether he agrees with Bierhoff.
“Nobody is afraid. Germany are very strong, with a lot of experience, but it’s a pleasure.
“There is no pressure. I have nothing to tell the players. History is in the past and tomorrow we will try and write a new page.”
France comfortably finished top of Group E before beating Nigeria 2-0 in their last-16 match, but Deschamps accepts that Friday’s clash against Jochim Low’s side will provide their biggest test.
He added: “When you advance in this competition, it gets more difficult. I have a lot of respect for Nigeria but the German team is better. It will be more demanding.
“We have played a very good World Cup. Germany is used to playing quarter-finals and semi-finals, they are very experienced but we will give it our all as well.
“Our players are very competitive, playing for top level major European clubs. We had to make them more united behind the same philosophy and same objectives. To be in the France team means they have a number of duties and responsibilities.
“Spirit has been very high since the start of the preparation and this has been very important.”