Germany became the first nation to reach four consecutive World Cup semi-finals as Mats Hummels’ early header proved enough to see them past France at the Maracana. The three-time champions needed extra time to beat Algeria in the last 16 and suffered a bout of illness in midweek, but they were comfortable victors over a disappointing France in Rio de Janeiro.
In what was a toothless performance by the French side, it took the Germans just 12 minutes before they broke the deadlock and went up 1-0 through a Matt Hummels goal. Hummels, back up from the back for a soft freekick that the French concedd. He got his head to a beautiful Kroos free-kick from midway inside the French half. Hummels expertly guided the ball beyond Lloris and into the top right-hand corner to put the Germans up by one.
Despite the early goal, the match was being played at a reasonably While Germany dominated the possession throughout, France were able to find gaps in the German defence in the early stages. The Les Bleus tried getting in behind the back four time and again but were unable to cancel out Hummels’ opener. Overall it was a very slow paced first half.
France started with some good quality pressing in the second half which was allowing Germany to counter-attack with pace. The tie was finally looking like it’d be opening up but it followed a similar pattern throughout. Many tipped this as a potential tie of the round, but I’m afraid it fell way short of that expectation.
In the dying moments of the match, Schurrle missed an easy chance to put the game to bed. The Germans broke quickly from a French corner and Schurrle found himself unmarked from 12 yards out, but his poor finish was kept out by the legs of Lloris.
One final chance for France to salvage a draw and take the game into extra-time saw Karim Benzema shoot from a very tight angle from the left side of the goal but only for Neuer to punch it far away with his iron-like fists.
It was a deserved victory for Germany, who dominated possession for much of the encounter against a French side who were incredibly disappointing. Germany – yet to face South American opposition – will need to up their game against Brazil in the semi-finals if they want to make sure that this time the trophy stays with an European country.