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A European presence in the World Cup semi-finals is assured as Germany and France meet at the Maracana, looking to shrug off stumbling wins in the second round that exposed frailties in both teams.
Contesting a quarterfinal for the ninth straight World Cup, the Germans will start as slight favourites because of their vast experience in major tournaments but with doubts surrounding a slow, porous defense that was breached repeatedly in the 2-1 extra-time victory over Algeria on Monday.
France were thrust among the tournament favourites after scoring a combined eight goals against Switzerland and Honduras. Yet, Didier Deschamps' inexperienced team played within themselves against Nigeria, perhaps struggling under the weight of lofty expectations.