It’s strange to say, but it still doesn’t feel like Germany has played their best game yet at this World Cup. Just don’t tell that to France, who could not break through and suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Die Mannschaft at Estádio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. Germany now awaits the winner of the Brazil-Colombia match later this afternoon.
The match opened with France looking like the better side, creating numerous chances through the enterprising play of Karim Benzema up top. Indeed, Benzema nearly pushed his team into the lead off of this splendid feed from Mathieu Valbuena:
It was Germany, however, who struck first. A magnificent free kick from Toni Kroos curled into the French 18 and was met in the air by Germany defender Mats Hummels, whose header found the back of the net for a 12th minute 1-0 lead:
Despite the advantage, Germany continued to sit back and allow Les Bleus to attack. France nearly broke through in the 34th minute on a shot by Valbuena and follow-up by Benzema, but Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was equal to the task:
France again held the better of the run of play, and with the French pressing Germany had a golden opportunity to put the game away in the 82nd minute. A fortuitous whiff by Thomas Muller left Andre Schurrle wide open with a huge target to shoot at, but he managed to fire right at French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris instead:
France had one last chance to tie it in the fourth minute of stoppage time, as Benzema and sub Loic Remy worked a brilliant 1-2 to get Benzema in on Neuer at a difficult angle, but once again the German goalkeeper foiled the attack:
That would prove to be the final chance of the game, as France’s excellent tournament run playing without star Franck Ribery came to an end. Germany will now take the field on Tuesday at 4 PM in what will be, astoundingly, the country’s 13th semifinal appearance.