Written by News 1st
01 Jul, 2014 | 7:58 am
Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger, left, and Sami Khedira fight for the ball with Algeria midfielder Medhi Lacen.
Germany survived a huge test of their World Cup title credentials to see off underdogs Algeria in extra time and set up a quarter-final meeting with France.
The three-time champions lacked urgency throughout the 90 minutes and frequently looked rattled as an enterprising Algeria wasted a succession of chances in an open, exciting encounter, before Andre Schurrle finished from close range early in the first additional period.
Mesut Ozil drilled in to double their lead and although Abdelmoumene Djabou volleyed home to ensure a frantic end, a relieved Germany held on and will take on the French in Rio on Friday.
The result looked inevitable once a hugely impressive Algeria side began to tire, but Joachim Low’s men will have to improve dramatically if they are to secure a first World Cup since 1990.
Germany are into the last eight for the 17th time in 18 World Cup appearances, but they lacked the fluency and cutting edge that has seen them installed among the tournament favourites.
Algeria could not mark their first experience of the knockout stage with a win, meaning Africa’s representation in Brazil is over, but they depart with immense credit for a superb campaign.
The build-up was dominated by talk of them seeking revenge for 1982, when West Germany’s convenient 1-0 win against Austria saw them both reach the second round at Algeria’s expense.
They beat the Germans in the group stage that year and looked determined to produce a repeat.
With a 4-1-3-2 formation and five changes to their starting line-up that saw playmaker Yacine Brahimi drop to the bench, the Desert Foxes appeared to be set up defensively.
But after an early spell of German pressure, they went in search of a shock lead and almost found it.
Manuel Neuer made a vital challenge on Islam Slimani after Faouzi Ghoulam’s ball up the left wing eluded Per Mertesacker, and it subsequently took an important tackle from the Arsenal centre-half to deny the same man.
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