France and Germany: 2010 compared to 2014

Ahead of their quarter-final this weekend I thought I would have a look at how the French and German national sides have changed. Below are the respective line-ups in their first game of the 2010 World Cup, their predicted line up for the 2014 World Cup at the time (thanks, and how they lined up in their quarter-final victories this week. While the German team has performed consistently well over the last four years the French side was at rock bottom following their inept performance in South Africa four years ago.



Side versus Australia in 2010:

Neuer, Lahm, Friedrich, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Schweinsteiger, Kheidera, Muller, Ozil (Gomez), Podolski (Marin), Klose (Cacau)

Predicted side for 2014 World Cup:

Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Jansen, Rolfes, Schweinsteiger, Mueller, Ozil, Gotze, Podolski (bench – Adler, Badstuber, Howedes, Kroos, Marin, Sukuta-Pasu and Gomez)

Side versus Algeria in 2014:

Neuer, Howedes, Boateng, Mertesacker, Mustafi (Khedira), Lahm, Schweinsteiger (Kramer), Kroos, Ozil, Gotze (Schurrle), Muller


What does it all mean? Germany’s first 11 hasn’t changed that much. Hummels would have started if he wasn’t injured, which would have meant 8 of the 11 were as predicted. Albeit in a slightly altered formation. Lahm has been reinvented as a holding midfielder and Muller now leads the line. While Lahm has excelled for both Bayern Munich and Germany in his new role, I for one can’t understand why it was necessary, especially in the national team. Lahm is the best full back in the world, extremely solid at the back and a threat going forward. And this has been lost with his move into the middle. This is a golden generation for German football and, injuries aside, the 11 that take to the pitch in four years’ time in Russia is likely to have many of the same names. Two names that could potentially force their way into the side are Erik Durm and Julian Draxler.




Side versus Uruguay in 2010:

Lloris, Sagna, Gallas, Abidal, Evra, Toulalan, Gourcuff (Malouda), Diaby, Govou (Gignac), Ribery, Anelka (Henry)

Predicted side for 2014 World Cup:

Lloris, Sagna, Rami, Mexes, Tremoulinas, Sissoko, Toulalan, Nasri, Gourcuff, Ribery, Benzema (bench – Mandana, Clichy, Sakho, Diarra, Kakuta, Remy and Gignac)

Side versus Nigeria in 2014:

Lloris, Evra, Varane, Koscielny, Debuchy, Pogba, Valbuena (Sissoko), Matuidi, Cabaye, Giroud (Griezmann), Benzema


A vastly changed side, both from the one that started in 2010 and the one that was predicted. Only two of the predicted starting 11 from four years ago were present against Algeria, with one other appearing off the bench. Ribery is missing due to injury but the others are out of form or out of favour. The man in charge of Les Blues has also changed, with Didier Deschamps now calling the shots. The new players represent a mix of youth and experience. While Paul Pogba and Rafael Varane are two of the hottest young talents in world football at the moment, others such as Cabaye, Valbuena, Debuchy and Koscielny are already in their late twenties. This shows that change can come from both new and established players, and just how much can change over four years between World Cups.


France has rediscovered its footballing identity in recent times. They have been one of the most free flowing and attacking teams at the World Cup. For this Deschamps deserves much of the credit. Germany looked lacklustre and laboured against a spirited Algerian side. While there is no doubting the technical ability of the players that Joachim Low has at his disposal, the side, at present, seems to lack the cutting edge. Their best performance of the World Cup was against Portugal in the opening game and they need to break at speed and be prepared to take a few more risks if they are to fulfil their potential at this World Cup.


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