Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has insisted that host nation France hold no fear for Germany, ahead of the two side’s Euro 2016 semi-final contest in Marseille.
The pair will meet in the Stade Velodrome on Thursday night and, despite Les Bleus playing the best football of the tournament so far in their 5-2 destruction of surprise side Iceland in the last round, Kroos believes there is no reason to fear Didier Deschamps’ side – the top scorers of the tournament so far with 11 goals.
Referring back to Germany’s gruelling penalty shootout win in the quarter-finals, Kroos said: “If (it) doesn’t go well for us, I’m certainly not going to use the Italy game as an excuse.
“Of course we have a lot of respect for France and I think they’ve got better as the tournament has progressed. We’ve seen they’ve got plenty of good individuals, but we certainly don’t need to be afraid.
“Fear is not the right word.”
Looking to reach their seventh European Championships final, three-time winners Germany have knocked out the host nation in four of their previous European Championships appearances – after overcoming Belgium in 1972, Yugoslavia in 1976, Sweden in 1992 and England in 1996.
Die Mannschaft also inflicted a devastating 7-1 win over host nation Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, but Kroos isn’t expecting a repeat of the last time they made an appearance in the semi-final of a major international tournament when they take on France.
As quoted in the Daily Mirror, Kroos added: “Playing the hosts nation in a semi-final is something special.
“We’ve had good experiences like that – although I don’t expect a game like in Brazil!
“The hosts are a good team – there’ll be enthusiasm for them but, of course, there’ll be pressure too and we’ll use that.
“France have improved throughout the tournament, they have individual quality but we don’t fear them.”