#WorldCup: Germany Advances to 4th Straight Semis

Group G winner Germany became the first team ever to reach four straight World Cup semifinals after defeating France 1-0 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday afternoon. Center back Mats Hummels headed in Toni Kroos’ curling free kick in the 13th minute and France forced German keeper Manuel Neuer into five saves to preserve the shutout and the victory.

Karim Benzema fired an early chance wide for France before Hummels gave the Germans the lead and the Germans would control the play for much of the rest of the half.

Mathieu Valbuena forced Neuer into a save in the 33rd minute, volley a shot from the left side of the box towards the far post. Only a quick reflex save from Neuer kept the Germans ahead.

France would come out the stronger side in the second half, but struggled to really test Neuer again.

Germany could have put the game out of reach in the 82nd minute, after some nice work by Mesut Özil Thomas Müller in the box. Müller flubbed his chance, but it fell to a wide open André Schürrle. Schürrle’s one-timed effort was right at French ‘keeper Hugo Lloris, who easily deflected the shot.

France would have one last chance to equalize in the last minute of stoppage time when Olivier Giroud combined with Benzema to send Benzema through into the left side of the box. Benzema’s touch limited his angle, but he still fired a powerful shot on frame from close range that force Neuer to punch it out.

Germany moves on to play the winner of Saturday evening’s Brazil-Colombia match in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday.

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About Sean Donahue

Sean Donahue has been covering the New England Revolution since 2002 for various publications. He has covered four MLS Cups, in addition to covering various international matches, including World Cup Qualifying and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He has done freelance work for the AP and ESPN Boston. Sean hosted Revolution Recap, a weekly radio program covering the New England Revolution and U.S. Men's National Team from 2005-2008. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters. Sean can be reached at nesoccertoday@gmail.com or followed on twitter @SeanLDonahue