World Cup: Germany 1, France 0
Hummels's early goal all Germans need in tight match
Germany’s into the World Cup semifinals for the fourth straight tournament after defeating France 1-0 on Friday in the teams’ quarter-final matchup in Rio de Janeiro.
Centreback Mats Hummels scored the winner off a header in the 13th minute, and Germany’s defence took it from there.
Manuel Neuer was solid in the German net when the defence did have a rare breakdown. He made a great diving save on Mathieu Valbuena in the first half, and turned away France's best chance on its final shot of the match from Karim Benzema.
Hummels’s goal set the tone of the match, forcing France to chase and allowing Germany to sit back and defend, a big advantage in the Rio heat.
Man of the match
Mats Hummels. You only needed to compare this match to the Germany-Algeria tie to see how much the centreback was missed. Returning from injury, Hummels did everything here – scored the winner, commanded the defence, and won nearly every challenge he made.
Germany is on to the semifinals for the fourth straight tournament, which is a World Cup record. The Germans also have more semifinal appearances than any other country, with 12. The next closest is Brazil and Italy, both with “only” seven.
It was a good day for…
Ending racism. Racism in the world was ended at 11:55 ET, when FIFA unfurled an anti-racism banner and both captains said things about ending racism. The anti-corruption banner was stolen on the way to the stadium.
It was a bad day for…
A ball to the face. Miroslav Klose *just* missed a header during the match. The end result was comical and likely painful.
They said it
"We played well, we played with a compact defence," said Germany manager Joachim Löw. "They had some long balls against us but we did a classy job taking care of those. Our midfield did a very good job disrupting their attack. We didn't have any organization problems."
"I am very proud of the players. There is some work to do with what we have now," France manager Didier Deschamps said. "We must keep our spirit and our quality. It's tough when you've just been eliminated, but I prefer to stress all the positives about the team."
What this means
Another World Cup, another semifinal appearance for Germany. The side came up with its most complete performance of the tournament when it needed it the most, but the Germans will have to top it to advance to the final. They will either face hosts Brazil or the ascendant Colombians in the semis on Tuesday (CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup, 4 p.m. ET).
Nobody knew what to expect from France at this World Cup, six months removed from a fractious period that saw the side in disarray. But manager Didier Deschamps worked wonders in the lead-up to the tournament, and the end result is that France played some of its best football in nearly a decade. The showing definitely bodes well for the French heading into hosting Euro 2016.