Five reasons why Germany beat France
Published 04/07/2014 | 19:44
Arsenal target Sami Khedira came into the middle of the park, with Philippe Lahm moving to his more customary position of full-back following the injury to Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose lining up in attack.
German manager Joachim Löew has a strong squad at his disposal and with the likes of Mario Goetze and Andre Schuerrle listed among the substitutes, the manager is not afraid to tinker with his starting XI.
Injury may have forced his hand somewhat, but the charismatic coach has demonstrated that he is felixible in his approach, something that cannot be said for other managers in Brazil.
French flatter to deceive
While it won’t go down as one of the most gripping games we have seen in Brazil, that will little matter to the Germans.
France on the other hand will look back and lament a game that drifted to what seemed a natural conclusion. After falling behind to Hummel’s header, Didier Deschamps side offered little going forward and Karim Benzema had to carve out any openings for himself.
After growing expectation following their win over Nigeria, it petered out for the French in a most under-whelming manner.
After dismissing the notions that Bayern star and team captain Lahm would return to defence, it highlighted the flexibility of the manager that he is willing to change, with Arsenal target Khedira also drafted in.
Lahm’s deployment may seem obvious – Germany’s back four against Algeria compromised of four central defenders and midfield is a clear area of strength – but some managers would have persisted with the original plan.
The captain was not overly worked in Rio, but with a place in the final at stake, he may well be stationed in a more defensive position.
Like his team, Toni Kroos did not set the world alight, but crucially got the job done, with his excellent delivery for Mats Hummels header the first-half goal. In truth Germany have no shortage of players capable of quality set-piece deliveries, but Kroos is the main man, having usurped Mesut Ozil from his preferred role in the middle.
While Germany never appeared too keen to add to their one-goal lead, they rarely looked like conceding either. Their record at the business end of tournaments is impressive and looked assured of making their third World Cup semi-final in succession.
Their French opponents have less familiarity with the knock-out stages and while cannot be the used as the sole reason for their limp display, it may well be part of the learning process for Deschamps and company.
For Germany this was a stepping stone to what they will hope be their year to finally get their hands on silverware.