Mats Hummels second goal of the tournament was enough for Germany to progress to the semi-finals of World Cup 2014. By doing do, Germany became the only team to have reached the last four of the World Cup for a record 13th time. The game was very exciting in the first half. France were expected to press for an equalizer in the second half but they didn’t, because of which the quality of the match dipped after the 45 minute mark.
Jogi Low changed Germany’s system from 4-3-3 to 4-2-1-3. That is, he inverted the midfield pyramid. Low used Philip Lahm as the only defensive midfielder in his 4-3-3 system. But against France, Low’s approach was more defensive. Sami Khedira came back to the squad to partner Bastian Schweinsteiger, behind Toni Kroos. The main reason for this change was to somehow hold back the energetic French midfielders. Mats Hummels was back in the squad. To counter the speedy forwards of France, Low benched Per Mertesacker and used Jerome Boateng as a centre back. Due to this change, Lahm was back in his preferred position – right back. Miraslove Klose was the lone striker. Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller flanked him.
Didier Deschamps stuck with 4-3-3 system. Mamoudo Sakho was included in the starting XI at the expense of Laurent Koscielny. As expected, Olivier Giroud was replaced by Antoine Griezmann.
Germany start brightly and press higher up the pitch –
The inversion of pyramid worked very well for Germany. Two defensive midfielders meant that Germany were defensively more strong compared France. In their previous games, France resorted to constant pressing all over the field. In this game, they were unusually quiet. Germany, on the other hand decided to press higher up the pitch. In the first half their work rate was very high and similar mentality was not expected of the Germans in the second half. Germany’s effort was successful. They were awarded free kicks in France’s half. A free kick conceded by Paul Pogba in the 13th minute was curled inside the box by Kroos which was netted inside by Hummels. Raphael Varane, who was marking Hummels inside the box, did not time his jump very well and allowed Hummels to head the ball.
Lahm in advanced position – Khedira’s forward runs – France attack from their left –
Lahm, who played in his natural position for the first time in this World Cup against France, played with an attacking intent throughout the first half. Lahm received a majority of passes higher up the pitch in the first half. Muller was actually benefitted by Lahm’s advanced position on the field. Muller was able to cut inside the box and sometimes played centrally with Klose. Khedira also made forward runs breaking the French midfield line and dismantling their structure.
Khedira and Lahm played on the right side of the field. Their advanced position offered France some space to attack. So France concentrated on breaking open the German defence by attacking from their left. Karim Benzema shifted wide towards left allowing Pogba, Valbuena and Debuchy to flock the right side of the field. Griezmann dropped deep to facilitate this and find himself some space in between the lines.
Howedes vs Valbuena –
Howedes’ advancement on the pitch was restricted. He was more comfortable sitting deep and covering the counterattacks. France had a number of chances in the first half. Most of these chances came from France attacking from their left. On their right, Valbuena was not able to get past through Howedes. As a result of this Valbuena tried shifting to the left to make some impact.
Second half – Low quality half
France were expected to step up and take control of the game in the second half – but they didn’t. Germany were expected to be reactive in the second half – and they didn’t let me down. On the whole it was a very poor half.
Only half an eye on this but whenever i glance up it looks a bit like a slightly overwrought League One play-off semi-final
— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) July 4, 2014
Germany were happy defending in their own half.
France created a number of chances in the entire match but lacked quality in the final third. Their finishing was very poor and credits should be given to Manuel Neuer for producing some great saves.
France took the game very lightly. Poor finishing and bad luck let them down. Their approach in the group stages and pre-quarterfinals was to go all out at the opponents. Against Germany, they simply did not want to get into any sort of troubles. Germany, had a really poor game. Low fielding two defensive midfielders was a good tactic but it robbed the fun and excitement of the game.
Early Shower on The Boot Room – here