In a game of top quality end-to-end football, it took Germany two hours to clinch their quarter-final place for a game against France, after beating a determined Algerian side 2-1 in extra time.
Germany took the lead just two minutes into extra time when substitute Andre Schurrle back-heeled a low Thomas Muller pass past the unlucky Algerian goalkeeper. Mesut Ozil sealed Germany’s place in the quarter-finals by placing the ball past two defenders after some clever play with Andre Schurrle.
Algeria didn’t give up whatsoever and Abdelmoumene Djabou gave his side a deserved goal, but unfortunately for the African nation it wasn’t enough to force penalties.
The first fifteen minutes saw the underdogs of Algeria push and test Germany’s incredibly high defensive line; on a number of occasions the Africans managed to break through the defence but their attacks frequently broke down at the last hurdle. Their good attacking play culminated in Hilal Soudani putting in an excellent ball that was met by the dangerous Islam Slimani who headed the ball past Manuel Neuer but was given offside.
Germany’s best chances of the first half came late on as Toni Kroos hit low and hard from about 20 yards out and Rais M’Bolhi at full stretch managed to push the ball away. He didn’t push it too far as Mario Gotze ran in for the rebound but the Algerian keeper managed to brilliantly block Gotze’s effort. The Germans looked lost at the back and looked vulnerable whenever the Algerian strikers went forward as Per Mertesacker showed he wasn’t the quickest centre back in the world as Slimani managed to get behind him many times in the first half. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer made some interesting yet risky moves as a number of times we saw the Bayern Munich keeper flee from his box to make last ditch tackles that could have easily seen Algeria get the ball past him and take the lead in this game.
The Germans went close in the second half with Philipp Lahm forcing a good save out of Rais M’Bolhi, Bastian Schweinsteiger went close with a header but failed to hit the target and Algeria danger man Islam Slimani fired an effort straight at Neuer.
With just ten minutes left, Sami Khedira delivered a cross and Thomas Muller met it with his forehead and pulled out a fantastic save from M’Bolhi and Andre Schurrle had his rebound cleared off the line.
Algeria went close in the first half of extra time as Mehdi Mostefa stabbed an effort from a corner wide of the post, to the dismay of the Algerian fans.
Germany and Algeria have history in the World Cup as Algeria beat West Germany in both sides first game in the 1982 World Cup. But that isn’t the most important bit of their footballing rivalry. In their final, Algeria had already beaten Chile the day before and the Germans needed one goal against neighbours Austria to qualify. They got their goal in the tenth minute and then the controversy started. Both teams really troubled each other and it looked they had conspired to fix the result so that both the West Germans and the Austrians qualified from the group stage.
Algeria can be incredibly proud of their performance as they deserve to go into the second half in the lead after looking so threatening going forward. The Germans in the end got the job done and are now just two games away from the World Cup final. France await them in the next round.
Germany XI; Manuel Neuer, Shkodran Mustafi, Per Mertesacker, Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Howedes, Philipp Lahm, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller.
Subs; Ron-Robert Zieler, Roman Weidenfelder, Kevin Grosskreutz, Matthias Ginter, Sami Khedira, Andre Schurrle, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Julian Draxler, Erik Durm, Christoph Kramer.
Algeria XI; Rais M’Bohli, Aissa Mandi, Essaid Belkalem, Rafik Halliche, Faouzi Ghoulam, Medhi Lacen, Mehdi Mostefa, Sofiane Feghouli, Hilal Soudani, Saphir Taider, Islam Slimani.
Subs; Cedric Si Mohamed, Mohamed Zemmamouche, Madjid Bougherra, Djamel Mesbah, Hassan Yebda, Nabil Ghilas, Yacine Brahimi, Carl Medjani, Nabil Bentaleb, Liassine Cadamuro, Abdelmoumene Djabou, Riyad Mahrez.