Friday, May 29, 2015Friday, May 29, 2015
World Cup 2014

Germany 2 Algeria 1: Match highlights, key battle and what the result means

Published on Jul 1, 2014 7:19 AM
Germany's forward Andre Schuerrle (second left) celebrates with his teammates Germany's midfielder Mesut Ozil (left), Germany's midfielder Sami Khedira (centre) and Germany's forward Thomas Mueller after scoring a goal during the first half of extra-time in the Round of 16 football match between Germany and Algeria. -- PHOTO: AFP

Not many footballing countries can say that they had pushed Germany to the limit but Algeria can proudly declare that now.

The North African country braved 28 shots from Joachim Loew's side in Porto Alegre and it was only when their legs started to tire in extra-time that they finally fell to a 2-1 defeat.

Match highlights

- The Germans played a high defensive line as they attempted to pin Algeria inside their own half. But the Desert Foxes' accurate direct balls behind Germany's defence forced goalkeeper Manuel Neuer off his line frequently.

- After a goalless 90 minutes, substitute forward Andre Schuerrle flicks home Thomas Mueller's low cross from the left two minutes into extra-time to break the deadlock.

- As Algeria started to tire, Mesut Oezil slams home the killer second goal in the final minute after Schuerrle's attempt was blocked on the line.

- But Vahid Halilhodzic's men still had some fight left in them as substitute midfielder Abdelmoumene Djabou sends a fireball from Sofiane Feghouli's cross into the German net in stoppage time.

Key battle

Manuel Neuer vs Islam Slimani and Sofiane Feghouli

With his team-mates told to surge forward, Neuer cuts an isolated figure inside his own half.

And Algeria have two competent players who can exploit the gaps - playmaker Feghouli punting accurate balls from deep into space and Slimani using his pace to latch on to them. This tactic was evident as the Algerian team pumped a total of 67 long balls at the Germans.

But Neuer was alert, dashing off his line and sprinting outside his box a total of 14 times to mop up the danger.

Man of the Match

Although Mario Goetze has the higher profile, the Bayern Munich star had an ineffective game in Porto Alegre.

Loew took decisive action, sending Schuerrle on and the difference could be felt almost immediately. The Chelsea man nearly scoring with a deflected shot less than two minutes after coming on.

His constant movement down the right or through the centre tired the Algerians, who had trouble matching his fitness.

It turned out to be an inspired substitution as Schuerrle scored the opener with a great piece of improvisation and was involved in the second. Goetze must feel that his starting place is under serious threat now.

What the result means

Although all five African participants are now out of the World Cup, Algeria can go home with great credit while the Germans will meet France in the quarter-finals for what could be an explosive tie.

The French have an excellent record over their old nemesis in friendlies, winning 10 and losing seven of 22 meetings. But in the World Cup, they lost two out of three, with the defeats in 1982 and 1986 regarded as painful memories of French football history.

Both the Germans and Les Bleus are in great form and confidence. Saturday's showdown at the Maracana looks set to be one of the most explosive games in this World Cup.