German Efficiency: Marching to the Semi-Finals Again
The dudes from Deutschland are relentless.
They're not always overpowering. They're not always creative. But it seems like they're always in the World Cup semis.
Now, for a record fourth consecutive time, they are again.
Mats Hummels' physical positioning on the business end of a Toni Kroos free kick in the 13th minute powered Germany to a 1-0 lead that was all Die Mannschaft required to dispose of France and make history:
Some may claim the 6-4, 198lb central defender was a tad opportunistic in creating space for himself on the play, but the only response to that should be for Raphaël Varane -- 6-1, 168lb -- to hit the weight room or for France to develop a footballer who has.
Frankly, as the London Daily Telegraph's Alan Tyers so subtly noted, Varane shouldn't have been put on Front Street like this in the first place.
|A good spell of play from the French is rudely curtailed when the Germans win a freekick on the left, thanks to a foolish foul from [Paul] Pogba. Ball in ... Hummels gets the better of Varane at the back post and powers home the header. Excellent delivery from Toni Kroos.|
Match stats will show this to be a close contest, but German dominance was evident throughout. When they needed the ball, they got it. When they absolutely had to protect the ball, they did it.
Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer was rarely tested in the German nets, and in the two instances where he was, his angles were precise and the French threats were non-starters.
A more representative scoreline would have been 3-0, which would have been the reality if winger André Schürrle -- possessor of the World Cup's worst facial hair -- hadn't botch two finishing chances that were served up to him on a silver platter. Still, after all he's done to date, he can be excused this once.
So, whether or not the rest of the world is tired of their perpetual presence on football's center stage, they're there. In all of their stripped-down, totally functional, relentless glory. That's why they're Die Mannschaft.