One more European team going home, another one advances to the semifinals. Not a great match, but one early goal from Mats Hummels was enough to give Germany a 1-0 win over France, becoming the first team to make it out of the quarterfinals.
Joachim Low pulled off an interesting tactical surprise by changing his formation: Putting Philipp Lahm back in his original right back position and starting with Mirsolav Klose. It didn’t exactly help Germany become the better team for it, but it helped counter France’s midfield and most of their attempts from the wings.
The best player for France was Mathieu Valbuena, who for most of the match was the only one who actually was able to create things for his team. Three or four times he allowed Karim Benzema to find himself wide open in the penalty box, but Manuel Neuer or a brave sliding defender were there to put a stop to it.
Germany didn’t exactly tear up the French defense. It was one cross from Toni Kroos in the 13th minute from a free kick, terrible coverage from Raphael Varane and a brilliant header from Mats Hummels, although Hugo Lloris could have been positioned better to try and make the save.
Germany have changed back to the efficient side that doesn’t play brilliant football, but does enough to get by. France? All the great football from the previous matches didn’t help, especially because we saw nothing from Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi, who failed to penetrate from the second line and create some sort of overload on the German defense.
Germany find themselves a lineup that doesn’t get embarrassed by teams with a fast attack, and have shown tactical flexibility that might have been missing in previous tournaments.