Germany booked its position into the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over neighbouring rivals France, in Rio de Janeiro. Defender Matt Hummels scored the only goal of the game early on in the match as he out-muscled Real Madrid’s young centre-back Raphael Varane to head home a Toni Kroos free kick into the upper reaches of the net.
Having gained a 12th minute lead Germany, played a high defensive line and gave their opposition no time on the ball. The hustling and harrowing proved too difficult for the French to deal with as they struggled to break down the German defence, let alone the midfield.
Too good for France
Germany dominated possession of the ball and seemed to be in control for most parts of the game. France managed to break on a few occasions but often failed to produce meaningful tests for the German shot-stopping keeper Manuel Neur except on two occasions. On both times that Neur was meaningfully tested he produced two world class saves, which he later played down as routine stops, whilst the rest of the world gave him credit for being a key aid to his team’s success.
The back four
Having come under scrutiny with regards to his back four, Germany coach Joachim Low reverted to a more orthodox back for with captain Philip Lamn returning to right fullback whilst Per Mertersacker was dropped for the returning Hummels in the centre of defence. The return to ‘normalcy’ of the defence showed that defence does win matches, whilst offence tells us by how many.
Germany are no strangers to the latter stages of major tournaments, though they are however, yet to cross the finish line in recent history. Germany now finds themselves only two games away from lifting the most coveted trophy in sports.