Germany advanced to their fourth straight semifinals at the World Cup on Friday with a 1-0 win against European rival, France.

Germany owned the game from start to finish, scoring early on in the 12th minute and then locking down on defense the remainder of the match to shut down the ever so potent French attack.

Before the match, both teams started what we believed to be their optimal offensive lineups. Germany’s Coach, Jogi Loew, finally moved Philip Lahm from the midfield to the back four where Germany proved to be at its weakest in their match against Algeria. Many believed that Germany was most potent on offense when Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose were up front together, where the duo would be a goal scoring tandem. Loew indeed for the first time started both forward together for the first time.

France’s Coach, Didier Deschamps was criticized in their last match for starting Olivier Giroud alongside striker Karim Benzema. The move seemed uncomfortable for Benzema who was moved outside to the wing and not where he was most comfortable had scored all his goals, in the center, up front. It took France almost 80 minutes before they finally scored in that match against Nigeria. It appeared Deschamps agreed with the criticism and wanted to see his French offense return to top form against die Mannschaft. He chose not to start Giroud and indeed moved Benzema back to is more comfortable position up front.

Germany struck the first blow in the 12th minute when Mats Hummels headed in the go ahead goal. The play originated when Germany was awarded a free kick just outside the box. Kroos sent in a beautiful cross off of a set piece and Hummels forced his way in front of the net where he headed past France’s Hugo Lloris in goal.

It’s no secret that the France’s weakness has always been set pieces as Hummels goal was the 4th goal scored off of a set piece in this World Cup against France.

France found themselves in an unfamiliar situation for the remainder of the first half as they had never been behind at any point the 2014 World Cup. Getting the lead and securing it were commonplace for France in the tournament, but the entire world be waiting to see if they could get off the mat and pull off a comeback.

France had their chances in the first half as Benzema got the ball in the box multiple times. He never got any clean shots however as Germany’s defense was strong and able to block, deflect or send his shots wide.

Germany came out of the locker room tentative to start the second half. They appeared uninteresting in maintaining their offensive attack like they did in the first half and on defense allowed multiple opportunities for France to find space and get shots off.

Miroslav Klose would have to wait one more match to become the World Cup’s all-time leading goal scorer as he was substituted out for Andre Schuerrle in the 69th minute.

Heat may have been a factor in the game as early reports claimed that the temperature on the pitch was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the match. That could explain why both teams looked slow and sluggish at times and why the referee called for an early water break in the first half.

In a last minute attempt at the equalizer, Deschamps substituted French striker Olivier Giroud for Mathieu Valbuena.

Karim Benzema had one last opportunity at the equalizer in stoppage time as he was one on one with German goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer on the lower left side of the net. Benzema sent the ball up to try to get over Neuer, but Neuer was able to jump and hit the ball away.

Germany would put the clamps down however and we were able to keep a clean sheet against the French side, ending France’s winning streak of five consecutive quarterfinal wins at the World Cup.

Game Notes:
With the win, Germany is now unbeaten in their last sixteen competitive matches. The loss for France ends their run of five consecutive quarterfinal victories at the World Cup. Didier Deschamps lost for the first time in his last 10 World Cup matches as a player and coach.