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Paris - French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to watch a football friendly of their respective national teams together on Wednesday.
Ahead of the 2000 GMT kickoff before 75,000 fans at the Stade de France in Paris, Hollande and Merkel, both keen football fans, were to discuss the EU budget summit that starts on Thursday.
Elysee officials have said the two leaders will spend about 15-20 minutes before the game discussing the meeting, adding that there was “no profound disagreement” between them.
Hollande had on Tuesday reiterated that spending cuts should not be to the detriment of economic growth, but that he was open to “compromise” on the budget.
He also demanded that strong European economies do more to stimulate domestic demand, in what was seen as a shot at Germany.
Merkel and Hollande have sparred before on how to fix the eurozone debt crisis, and Wednesday's match was seen as a way for both to spend time bonding over their favourite sport.
Hollande, who as a youth played winger with his hometown's club of FC Rouen, at a press conference Tuesday in Strasbourg winced at the memory of a “painful” night when the two teams clashed in 1982.
The French president remembered how he watched, heartbroken, in 1982 as West Germany shoved France aside to take a spot in the World Cup final against Italy. France, after leading the game 3-1
at one point, eventually lost to West Germany on penalties.
The epic clash is best remembered for German keeper Harald Schumacher's attack on France's Patrick Battiston, which went completely unsanctioned. In trying to block a shot, Schumacher knocked out two of Battiston's teeth and cracked three of his ribs.
The French have beaten the Germans 11 times, lost seven times and had six draws. The last time the Germans beat the French Equipe tricolore was in 1987. - Sapa-dpa