- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

MARSEILLE, France (AP) - A look at some of the tactical choices for France coach Didier Deschamps ahead of the European Championship semifinal against Germany:

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DEFENSE

Deschamps must either recall Adil Rami or stick with the inexperienced Samuel Umtiti at center half.

The 22-year-old Umtiti made his international debut in the 5-2 win against Iceland in the quarterfinals, because Rami was suspended. Although Umtiti completed 100 percent of his passes, he looked vulnerable at times.

Rami has been a weak link.

Slow, ponderous and clumsy, his slip against Ireland in the last 16 created confusion that led to a second-minute penalty.

The left flank of France’s defense is also vulnerable, with left back Patrice Evra twice caught out of position inside the first five minutes against Iceland. He also gave away a penalty against Romania.

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MIDFIELD

Deschamps faces the tough decision whether to leave out N’Golo Kante - one of his best players - in favor of keeping Moussa Sissoko.

The team will be chosen with counterattacking in mind.

“Germany is used to dominating opponents and used to having the ball more,” Deschamps said Wednesday.

Kante offers better protection in front of the defense in a 4-3-3 formation, but offers less going forward than Sissoko in the 4-2-3-1 deployed convincingly against Iceland. Sissoko’s presence also seems to improve Paul Pogba’s play.

With Sissoko on the right of midfield against Iceland, Pogba formed a two-man central midfield with Blaise Matuidi.

Pogba, who scored with a header from a corner, had his best game of the tournament.

Sissoko, with his speed, technique and athleticism, is a perfect counter-attacking option for France and his inclusion also allows Pogba to sit deep and deploy his strong passing range to hit Germany on the break.

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FORWARD LINE

This should be easy for Deschamps, considering France has scored the most goals at Euro 2016.

Mobile forward Antoine Griezmann has a tournament-leading four goals so far, striker Olivier Giroud has scored three, while attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet also has three.

They have combined for 10 of France’s 11 goals.

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BENCH

Deschamps has kept fringe players involved throughout the tournament.

Wingers Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial are good options if France struggles to break teams down - which was the case against Ireland in the last 16 - and powerful striker Andre Pierre-Gignac offers solid backup for Giroud if France needs a late goal.

Yohan Cabaye is playing in his third major tournament and provides valuable experience should Deschamps need a change in midfield.

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PENALTY SHOOTOUT

Deschamps does not get his players to practice penalty shootouts in training, saying it is no comparison to the nerve-wracking experience of shooting with tired legs in front of a full stadium after extra time.

It remains to be seen if this will prove a wise choice, given France’s poor track record.

Les Bleus lost on penalties to West Germany in the 1982 World Cup semifinals, to the Czech Republic in the Euro ‘96 semis, and to Italy in the World Cup final in 2006.

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