2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany heads back to the semifinals once again
FIFA World Cup 2014: Germany vs. France preview, live commentary and recap.
Germany 1 (Hummels 13'), France 0
It wasn't very pretty, nor was it very exciting, but Germany did what Germany always does: it advanced to the semi-finals of the World Cup. Ok, so maybe it doesn't always happen, but it's not happened for the fourth straight World Cup.
That means the last time Germany didn't get this far was in 1998 when people were still listening to the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. The world was just a far scarier place then.
As for this match, Germany wasn't very impressive in this victory, but it was never really in trouble, either. The Germans took a 1-0 lead only 13 minutes in to the match and then basically did the bare minimum from then on to hold on to its lead.
It will be rewarded for its semi-effort with the winner of Brazil and Colombia.
FULL TIME: Germany advances to yet another semifinal, defeating France 1-0.
90+4' - OH BENZEMA WITH A LATE CHANCE but like he has been all day, Manuel Neuer is there to crush France's dreams.
90+3' - I'm not sure what it is exactly that Olivier Giroud's plan has been since coming on for France, but it certainly hasn't been to help his team.
90+2' SUBSTITUTION - Germany decides to kill some time by replacing Kroos with Christoph Kramer.
90' - France will have four additional minutes to salvage this one.
89' - She does not believe that they will win.
88' - Germany nearly ended it. Muller made a run down the right, the defender fell down and Muller found Schuerrle in he box for a shot. But Schuerrle's shot was directly at a French defender and stopped in its tracks.
87' - "My face! My beautiful face!" yells Olivier Giroud as he hopes the ref calls a foul on the ball for hitting him in it.
85' - It's just about do or die time for France, and the bad news is Germany has been controlling the ball the last few minutes.
85' SUBSTITUTION - France finally brings on Olivier Giroud, as he replaces Mathieu Valbuena.
83' SUBSTITUTION - Germany replaces Mesut Ozil with Mario Goetze.
82' - Germany mounts a quick counter following the corner, but Schuerrle's wide open shot is stopped by Lloris. Could have been the nail in France's coffin.
82' - And Valbuena's corner does nothing but find the hands of Manuel Neuer.
81' - Another German foul gives France a chance here on a free kick from outside the box, but after it's deflected a few different directions it goes out of play for a French corner.
80' YELLOW CARD - Schweinsteiger picks up Germany's second yellow of the match for a tackle on Griezmann.
78' - So how much longer until Germany nets a second goal on a counter attack from this sustained French pressure? Five minutes?
77' - And now another shot on net from Matuidi, but it's from a very difficult angle and Neuer makes an easy save.
76' - Some excitement as Benzema finds himself getting his foot on the ball in the box yet again, but Hummels manages a nice sliding block.
75' - I didn't want to say it myself, but yeah, basically.
This is like watching two mid table premier league sides play out a meaningless last game of the season #WhatQuarterFinal— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 4, 2014
74' - Mathieu Valbuena says "I'll see your bad shot, Griezmann, and raise you this one." France is playing well, but it looks like its players are pressing to score the tying goal, taking bad shots and screwing them up while doing so.
73' SUBSTITUTION - Loic Remy is on for Yohan Cabaye.
73' - Griezmann takes an ambitious shot and misses by a bit.
72' SUBSTITUTION - France makes its first move, but it's not Sissoko or Giroud. Instead Koscielny comes on for Sakho. And it looks like Loic Remy will soon follow.
69' - Speaking of Muller, he gets a shot off from the right side of the box but it's about a foot wide of the left post at most.
68' SUBSTITUTION - The first sub of the match is from Germany, as Miroslav Klose comes off for Andre Schuerrle. Muller will likely move up to replace Klose as striker.
66' - Moussa Sissoko and Olivier Giroud warming up on the sidelines right now. Have to think France will sub at least one of them in shortly.
63' - France's Mathieu Valbuena is down and being attended to by trainers. They have the magic spray, so he'll be fine. It cures all.
62' - France has been the better side over the first 17 minutes of this second half. That'll be little consolation if it fails to score, however.
60' - The corner is deflected out, but the ball is brought back by France and a cross finds Varane in the box, but Neuer makes the save. (via)
60' - Nice connecting play by France at midfield leads to a chance but Matuidi's cross is deflected for a corner.
55' - Kroos gets a shot off from well outside the box, and it goes well wide of the goal. Probably wishes he had that one back as he had space in front of him.
54' YELLOW CARD - Khedira picks up a yellow for just plain tackling Griezmann at midfield while he was trying to start a break.
52' - Nothing comes from the corner as Lloris punches the ball away.
52' - Germany gets a corner after a cross from Ozil is deflected out of play.
50' - Valbuena's free kick finds a wide open Patrice Evra, who does nothing with it, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway. Evra was wide open because he was offside.
47' - Encouraging start for France. No goals, but plenty of play in Germany's defensive third.
46' - And the second half is underway.
1:04 p.m. ET: Both teams are back on the field and the second half is about to begin.
HALFTIME: Germany leads 1-0, and it's felt like its been in control most of the match, but France played better over the last 15 to 20 minutes. I don't think this one is quite over just yet.
45' - There will only be one minute of extra time in the first half.
44' - A nice run from Benzema results in another shot on net, but the ball is right at Neuer. Still, if Benzema keeps getting these chances, he's going to convert at some point.
42' - Benzema finds himself alone in the box and tries to head a cross back across Neuer but the header is blocked.
42' - France has looked much better moving forward over the last 10 minutes or so, but it's still rather alarming how easily Germany presses forward. France has to work at it, while it's just happening for Germany.
39' - Khedira is back on, as is the match.
38' - Germany's Khedira is down and being looked at by the trainers. Doesn't look serious but he's currently on the sideline and the two teams take a water break.
35' - And the corner is headed over the bar by Sakho and out for a goal kick.
34' - Very good chance for France as Valbuena comes along the left side and gets a shot off. Neuer saves it but it deflects to Benzema whose shot is blocked. Corner coming for France, who suddenly looks alive again. (via)
33' - Germany begging for another penalty after Muller goes down in the box chasing a cross, but once again, the ref is right to let it go. Muller initiated the contact.
30' - Germany gets a corner it shouldn't get (ball went out off a German), but the ball doesn't lie as the cross is a bit too high for all involved.
28' - French fan not looking very optimistic.
Oh, hey. pic.twitter.com/daMHGj5H1p— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) July 4, 2014
25' - A through ball from Khedira to Muller in the box is too long and Lloris gets to it before he can. Germany looking a lot more dangerous than France.
24' - Nearly 2-0 Germany but a pass to Miroslav Klose in the box is just out of his reach. Klose then falls down begging for a penalty, but today's ref isn't blind and doesn't give him one.
21' - If you weren't already aware, if Germany wins this match it will advance to the semi-finals for the fourth consecutive World Cup. Germany is kind of good at the soccer, you guys.
18' - France seems a bit shaken by that goal still. Looking disorganized at the moment.
13' - Tim Howard makes that save, Lloris (no he doesn't).
13' GOAL GERMANY - Germany gets a free kick from ouside the box and Toni Kroos' kick finds the head of Hummels, who heads it in off the crossbar. 1-0 Germany.
11' - Another good chance for France, but a cross to Benzema in front of the net is picked off by a German defender to end the threat.
9' - Poor Christ the Redeemer is wishing he had the ability to turn his head right now.
What a view for today's match. pic.twitter.com/aBcqJgKkiQ— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) July 4, 2014
7' - Works every time. Right after I finish typing that Karim Benzema one-times a cross from outside the box with his right foot, but it goes wide of the net. (via)
6' - While there hasn't been a great chance for either side as yet, Germany is dominating possession early. France isn't moving forward as much as it's just clearing the ball for a few seconds.
5' - I bet German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's created player on FIFA is an attacking midfielder.
3' - Germany with the first real attacking chance of the match, but there was never any real danger as Germany invaded the box. Oh no! A World War joke already!
2' - I will do my best to refrain from World War jokes during this match, but sometimes obvious joke is obvious for a reason.
1' - And we're off! Temperature at kick is about 80 degrees, which is nice, but it's also incredibly humid, which is not so nice for the players. It's fine for me, I'm in an air-conditioned home.
11:54 a.m. ET: Both teams are making their way onto the pitch for the national anthems. We're about five minutes away from these two old friends doing battle one more time.
Here are your starting lineups for today's quarterfinal:
Germany (4-2-3-1): Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Howedes, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Muller, Kroos, Ozil, Klose
France (4-3-3): Lloris, Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra, Pogba, Cabaye, Matuidi, Valbuena, Benzema, Griezmann
Match Preview: Be it World Wars or World Cups, France and Germany always seem to find a way to cross paths, don't they?
France has recovered well from a poor showing in the 2010 World Cup when it finished last in its group (and its group included South Africa) with only one point. This go round the French won their group and took down Nigeria to advance to the quarterfinals. They've done so thanks largely to a strong defensive effort, allowing only two goals in their four games.
That's one goal less than the team's leading scorer, Karim Benzema, has managed by himself.
The Germans, as Americans are well aware, won their group as well before defeating Algeria 2-1 in extra time in the last round. Germany opened the World Cup with a 4-0 shellacking of Portugal, but has looked a lot more mortal since, only outscoring its three opponents (Ghana, United States, Algeria) 5-3 since.
And the French will be a tougher test than any of those three teams, with things becoming a bit more difficult thanks to a report that several players, including Thomas Müller -- who has four goals in this World Cup -- have been battling some kind of illness lately.
Will it have any effect on Friday's match? I guess we'll just have to wait to find out.
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