France v Germany sees two of the finest exponents of the sweeper-keeper’s art take to the Maracana turf in the shape of Hugo Lloris and Manuel Neuer.
The FC Bayern stopper’s Franz Beckenbauer-aping antics against Algeria saw him join the Tottenham custodian in the exclusive group of acknowledged ball-playing goalies.
Yet when it comes to the picnic lunch of the goalkeeping trade, that’s to say the bread, butter, meat and drink, it’s the Frenchman who has overshadowed his opposite number in Brazil.
Lloris is the marginal favourite in the clean sheet betting for their quarter-final clash at 19/10, with Neuer 39/20 and their respective World Cup statistics suggest the bwin odds boffins have got this one ‘dead on balls accurate’ to quote Monalisa Vito in comedy classic ‘My Cousin Vinnie’.
The former Lyon stopper has kept three clean sheets to the German’s two, conceding two goals to his opposite number’s three at the tournament.
So far so close, but he also averages greater than one save per goal more than Neuer in at the World Cup, conceding every 3.5 efforts in comparison to ‘Schnapper’s’ 2.33.
Surprisingly, Didier Deschamps’ numero uno is actually a less accurate distributor of the orb than the more recently minted ‘skweeper’, with 73 per cent of his passes finding their recipient as opposed to a whopping 85 of every figurative 100 from his opposite number.
Yet the Frenchman’s colleagues won’t begrudge him the odd errant ball if he continues to bail them out to the tune of 2.75 catches a fixture.
It’s a number that makes Neuer seem positively sluggish from the line in comparison, with his rearguard aided to the tune of just 0.92 claims per 90 minutes at the World Cup.
Lloris has some fearsome back-up for his Rio clean-sheet keeping mission too, with a back four that have kept 11 shutouts in their last 15 outings for the loss of just seven goals between him and the enemy.
The German backline have, by contrast, bagelled a mere eight of their last 15 rivals, getting breached once a game during that sequence.