Mats Hammels’ header saw the end of Les Bleus World Cup challenge as Germany advance to the semi-finals against Brazil.
Germany have now made it to the semi-finals of a World Cup for the third time in a row thanks to the Borussia Dortmund defender finding the back of the net after a free-kick 13 minutes into the first half.
The German side had improved their game and polished their performance for the quarter finals. France, even with Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, looked powerful, had good possession, had ample shots and several chances but were still unable to push for an equaliser.
Low’s men proved that his German side are improving and winning despite the fact they may not actually have a star player – but what they do have is a collective. Germany goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, was majestic once again as France fell short. The frustrated French had put a lot of pressure on in the second half with their great pace and challenges, but it was still not enough to outrun the German side.
France have a somewhat bizarre record of late in major tournaments, either failing to get out of the group all together or reaching the final and remain constantly unpredictable in major tournaments.
This year, Les Bleus looked threatening, with a good team unity and not losing a single game prior to the quarter finals, scoring an amazing five (but essentially six) goals to two, wiping out Switzerland in the group stages with a potent attack led by Benzema.
They thundered past Nigeria in to the next round and appeared in full fighting force for the quarter finals. Les Bleus however, had met their match against Germany. It was the first time France had gone behind in the tournament and the first time they had yielded in the opening half.
France were close to being awarded a penalty, but their best chance came from Methieu Valbuena before half time, whose shot was saved by Neuer and Benzema failed to control the follow-up. A sad, but honourable end for an improving team.
The French had an excellent tournament all round, from Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, who has scored three goals in this year’s World Cup, to equally impressive performances from Paul Pogba and Valbuena.
French coach Didier Deschamps, who captained Les Bleus to the 1998 triumph, will be disappointed of course, but will know that this side is improving and probably deserved to fall to Germany.
The French walk away defeated but with a good team spirit and a unison that will make the Euros in 2016 interesting. France do continue to look promising as a team, but for now, it is time for them to say au revoir to Brazil 2014.
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