Germany have secured passage to the semi-finals over the 2014 FIFA World Cup; edging out a classy France 1-0 at the Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
Expected to contest a scoreless draw that would in turn push on to extra time and a penalty shootout, the game’s solitary goal amazingly came with a quarter of an hour, when a floating Tony Kroos free-kick found the head of Mats Hummels in just the twelfth minute, breaking Hugo Lloris’s line.
Despite going down early, The French appeared to lack the killer touch that had seen them progress to the final eight of the 2014 World Cup with relative ease; sitting deep and inviting the constant German onslaught instead of taking the game forward.
Attempting to reverse the run of play only a few times over the first half, France were unable to truly trouble Manuel Neuer; the Bayern Munich shot stopper barely needing to move from one spot for the opening 45.
Returning from the break in far-more positive form, the French were unlucky not to find an equaliser through impressive counter attacks from Antione Griezmann and Mathieu Valbuena, each causing headaches to the German defence.
Withstanding another barrage, France were lucky not to concede again with just 20 minutes left on the clock when a low drive from star German star Thomas Muller clipped a defender before brushing past Lloris’s post.
Despite pushing for a successful counter, France’s defence began to leak holes and if not for a poor attempt at a finish from Andre Schurrle, would have again found themselves two-nil down with less than ten minutes to run.
Luckily for the Chelsea attacker, France’s last opportunity was struck directly at Neuer, seeing the German’s progress to their fourth consecutive World Cup semi-finals appearance.
Despite being understandably disappointed at being knocked out of the 2014 World Cup, French striker Karim Benzema said he could not have been prouder by his nation’s performance in the world’s headline sporting tournament.
“We are disappointed that the adventure stops there. We gave everything, but we couldn’t score,” Benzema said following the match.
“The first period was quite difficult; we didn’t have enough attempts for my taste. We had more in the second half, there were endangered, but they have a very good goalkeeper.
“We can be proud of ourselves. Do not forget that his is one of the best teams in the world and not one of us had played in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.”
Germany will now face the host nation in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals who will be without the services of attacker Neymar, after the Barcelona star suffered a fractured vertebra in Brazil’s 2-1 win over Colombia.
Leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au can’t split Germany and Brazil, currently offering each at generous $2.75 odds for success.