FRANCE 0-1 GERMANY
FRIDAY 4TH JULY – RIO DE JANIERO
Germany made history this evening with a tight 1-0 win over France, ensuring they were the first team to reach a fourth successive World Cup Semi-Final appearance.
After needing extra-time to beat Algeria just a few days ago, they got off to a much better start on Friday night, going in front just 12 minutes in, when a perfectly executed free-kick by Toni Kroos was flicked home by Mats Hummels on his return to the side.
The game could’ve been over just a few minutes later too. Miroslav Klose – just a goal away from beating Ronaldo’s record for goals in World Cups – seemed to be bundled over in the box by Debuchy, though replays suggest that the striker may well have taken a dive.
An early goal was the tonic the neutrals needed, and Les Blues attacked with force after that, Manuel Neuer brought into action midway through the first half when a Griezmann cross was diverted towards goal by Valbuena, only to see the German ‘keeper pull off a superb one-handed save.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was at the heart of a lot of the French attacks, and he went close with a trio of chances before the break, though the efficient German defence remained strong and ensured they were ahead at the interval.
This was not a situation Deschamps’ side had found themselves in before, and they certainly didn’t take their foot off the gas, dominating the middle of the park and using the exciting Antoine Griezmann to initiate most of their threats.
It was certainly more one-way traffic the second-half though, Raphael Varane should’ve done better with a header, directing it straight at Manuel Neuer, before Matuidi saw his effort well saved by the Bayern ‘keeper.
With Loew’s side under pressure and possibly tiring from the virus that has emanated from their camp this week, they turned to Andre Schurrle to take the pressure off them. That he did, stretching the French defence several times on the break, though every time they were unable to create a good chance.
The one goal lead was always going to set us up for a nail-biting finish, and another half hour was nearly set up when Benzema raced into the area, only to see his shot met by the strong arm of Manuel Neuer, who ensured the Germans would be the first team into the semi-finals.
They will face the winners of the Brazil vs Colombia this evening, knowing that one of that match-up will be in the showpiece final come July 13th.
FRANCE: Lloris, Debuchy, Evra, Varane, Sakho (Koscielny 72), Cabaye (Remy 73), Valbuena (Giroud 85), Griezmann, Matuidi, Pogba, Benzema.
GERMANY: Neuer, Lahm, Höwedes, Hummels, Boateng, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Özil (Götze 83), Klose (Schurrle 69), Muller, Kroos (Kramer 90).
GOALS: Hummels 13.
BOOKINGS: Khedira 54, Schweinsteiger 80.
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