World Cup - Germany beat France to make semi-finals

World Cup Quarter Final, Estadio Maracana - France 0 Germany 1 (Hummels 13’)

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World Cup - Germany beat France to make semi-finals
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Germany's Mats Hummels (C) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against France during the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals soccer match at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 4, 2014 (Reuters)

Germany progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup as Mats Hummels scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory against France.

Hummels scored the only goal of the game when he flicked on Toni Kroos’ cross from just beyond the penalty spot, past the despairing dive of Hugo Lloris.

Germany had started the game with a much-changed formation. Miroslav Klose started up front, supported by Thomas Mueller, Sami Khedira anchored the midfield, and Philip Lahm moved back to the right-back position.

France went close with a Mathieu Valbuena volley and Karim Benzema shot, but Manuel Neuer was flustered by neither.

The second half was depressingly dour. Didier Deschamps was so reticent to make a change that he did not make a substitution until the 72nd minute, and then only to replace Mamadou Sakho for Laurent Koscielny. Moments later, Loic Remy, was introduced, but it demonstrated the lack of nous from the side as a whole.

It wasn’t enough, and France appeared only mildly concerned about looking for a goal. Their lethargic performance ensured an easy victory for Germany.

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KEY EVENTS

12’ - HUMMELS SCORES - Kroos whips in a free-kick from the left, and Hummels flicks the ball against the crossbar and in.

34’ - NEUER SAVE - Antoine Griezmann volleys a cross for Valbuena, who chests the ball forward, and volleys across Neuer, who pushes away well. Hummels blocked Benzema’s close-range follow up.

44’ - BENZEMA CHANCE - Benzema brings down Paul Pogba’s crossfield pass, beats two defenders as he moves into the box, and strikes straight at Neuer.

77’ - MATUIDI CHANCE - From a tight angle, Blaise Matuidi’s shot is punched away by Neuer.

82’ - SCHURRLE WASTE - Mesut Ozil has acres of space to run down the left wing, he pulls the ball back and it runs to Andre Schurrle, whose weak shot is saved by Lloris.

90+4’ - BENZEMA SHOT - Bursting through the defence on the left of the box, Benzema’s high shot from a tight angle is swatted away by Neuer.

KEY STATS

Germany are through to the semi-finals of the World Cup for a fourth successive time.

France have not beaten Germany in a World Cup since 1958.

This is only France’s second loss to Germany since 1987.

Didier Deschamps waited more than 70 minutes before making an attacking change.

MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY

TALKING POINT

France made it easy for Germany. France seemed to focus on playing passes over the top for players to chase, which was too simple an approach to beat a defence reinforced by Philip Lahm at right-back. With Mathieu Valbuena and Antoine Griezmann best on the counterattack, once Germany could sit back, France should have made their changes far earlier in the second half.

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MAN OF THE MATCH

Mats Hummels (Germany): Hummels’ winner was clearly the most important act of the game, but his defensive contribution extended to last-minute tackles and blocks from close range. If Manchester United do manage to sign him this summer they look to have an adequate replacement for Nemanja Vidic.

PLAYER RATINGS

France: Lloris 7, Debuchy 6, Evra 6, Varane 6, Sakho 6, Cabaye 5, Valbuena 6, Benzema 5, Griezmann 5, Matuidi 5, Pogba. Subs: Koscielny 6, Giroud 6, Remy 5.

Germany: Neuer 7, Lahm 7, Boateng 6, Howedes 6, Hummels 7, Khedira 6, Schweinsteiger 6, Ozil 5, Muller 6, Kroos 6, Klose 6. Subs: Schurrle 7, Gotze 6, Kramer 6.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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