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Germany beats France 1-0, reaches World Cup semis

By Steve Douglas

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Germany relied on its big-game experience to hold off France 1-0 on Friday, with Mats Hummels' first-half header securing the German team a spot in the semifinals for the fourth straight World Cup.

The center back settled a cagey match in muggy conditions at Maracana Stadium with his 13th-minute goal, outmuscling his marker at a free kick to glance a header in off the underside of the crossbar.

Criticized for its poor defending in earlier matches, Germany selected a more robust team, tightened up at the back and restricted a flat-looking France team to only a handful of clear-cut opportunities.

While the French exited with a whimper, Germany can look forward to a match against the winner of Friday's later quarterfinal match between Brazil and Colombia.

"There was not much in it," said France coach Didier Deschamps, whose young and revamped side hadn't been expected to advance further than the last eight. "We don't have the international experience Germany has."

France was not given many chances to impose the kind of attacking game that made Les Bleus one of the most exciting lineups in Brazil during the group stage, although Karim Benzema could have sent the game into extra time with an opportunity in stoppage time. Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer swatted the angled shot away.

"We played like a team again," said Germany captain Philipp Lahm, who was returned to right back in one of a string of tactically astute changes made by coachJoachim Loew. "Overall it was a good performance from us. It wasn't easy today."

In Loew's eight-year tenure, Germany has reached the last four in every major tournament it has played - but remains without a title since winning the European Championships in 1996.

While the German team seemed comfortable on the big stage, the occasion was perhaps too much for a young, revamped France team playing together in football's marquee tournament for the first time.

It guaranteed Europe at least one representative in the semifinals - the Netherlands and Belgium also have chances to qualify on Saturday - and continued Germany's recent dominance over France at World Cups.

The most notorious of those was the meeting in the 1982 semifinals in Spain, when Germany won on penalties following a 3-3 draw in a match marked by a late and high tackle by Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher on France defender Patrick Battiston that escaped punishment.

That went down as one of the most riveting matches in World Cup history, but the rematch - 32 years on - couldn't have been more different.

A turgid first half was illuminated by the goal from Hummels, who held off Raphael Varane and met a typically dead-eye delivery from Kroos with a header that gave goalkeeper Hugo Lloris no chance.

France pierced Germany's high defensive line on occasions, producing chances for Mathieu Valbuena and Benzema that needed the intervention of Neuer.

The warm and humid conditions played a part in the slow tempo of the game but France stepped up the pressure in the second half, with Neuer saving a header from Varane as the center back tried to atone for his weak defending for the goal.

Benzema's late chance got French fans excited but Germany should have been 2-0 ahead by then, with Lloris saving a low shot by substitute Andre Schuerrle on a counter-attack.

"We just weren't efficient enough," said Valbuena, who sat on the ground looking dejected after the final whistle. "Our efforts just weren't enough, it's incredibly disappointing."

Join the discussion

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bss217 July 04 2014 at 2:42 PM

what is a loan goal? a lone goal as in 1?

Flag Reply +5 rate up
2 replies
bitter49er bss217 July 04 2014 at 10:12 PM

Kinda like an own goal. Just add an L. Never mind about spelling, that's so 20th century.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
BIGDADDY JIM bss217 July 05 2014 at 2:04 AM

It's the 3rd world now..just ignore the ignorance. Most of our great peoples wouldn't even notice the error.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jt2 July 04 2014 at 7:24 PM

Please don't tell me that anyone who writes this stuff has an education. A "loan"goal??Is that one that is borrowed? Is there interest or is it interest free? God, people, have a little pride in what you do.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
esl8361272 July 04 2014 at 2:47 PM

Is proof reading a lost art? LONE goal, not a borrowed or loan goal.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Paddy esl8361272 July 04 2014 at 2:56 PM

When I read it I thought it seemed odd, loan as in borrowed not lone as in one, Huffpost must hire school dropouts.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Ron July 04 2014 at 4:36 PM

another 1-0 game ... what a surprise!

soccer sucks!!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
3 replies
bigjjpp July 04 2014 at 6:50 PM

the french were giving there all and it showed the german goalie did a great job other wise the french would have won

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jimd8575 July 04 2014 at 5:52 PM

This is still going on? Wake me when its over!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
jurmik jimd8575 July 05 2014 at 6:59 AM

Why aren't you in bed then and let others enjoy the greatest games in the world.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Gerhard July 04 2014 at 5:59 PM

"Lone" Goal, NOT "Loan" Goal. Any editors or proofreaders in AOL-land?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Sandy Gerhard July 04 2014 at 7:18 PM

No. They allow haters and middle schoolers to post on these sites too.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
gdmn2find July 04 2014 at 9:22 PM

Dang, I was going to comment on the so called "loan" goal too. What like Germany had to borrow one? Do they pay interest on it? Or did your proof readers just show how limited THEIR vocabulary really is too? So to echo what has already been stated, it was a LONE goal as in singular. LONE as in the ranger. Get it?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
susiesono July 04 2014 at 6:20 PM

Who edits your pieces? Loan goal? Please don't make English a lost language yet.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ninajo47 July 05 2014 at 8:04 AM

"Loan" score? Don't you mean "lone" score? Can I have a job as proof-reader so you don't look so foolish most of the time?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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