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Monday, June 30, 2014

The FIFA World Cup Kickaround, Halftime, and Postgame Thread #2 For 6/30/14: De Survival

FT (aet): Germany 2-1 Algeria - (Schurrle 92', Ozil 120'; Djabou 120+) 

Photos from FIFA.com & Getty Images

The greatest Algerian effort ever, one of the most nervy and listless performances from Germany ever. And yet, it still wasn't enough for the massive upset.

In between Manuel Neuer's amazing half-goalkeeper, half-centerback performance and Andre Schurrle's arrival, it was enough for Joachim Low and his side to breathe a sigh of relief with their countrymen and women. 

Valid Halilhodzic, slammed in 2010 for not getting the most of an Ivory Coast side, was terrific on the day with his tactics after a curious 5 changes made. His moves were just purely sensational, as the inclusion of Lacen, Taider, and Mostefa were excellent against a somewhat lethargic duo of Lahm and Kroos. Ghoulam was having his way with Mustafi on the left, and Feghouli with Howedes and Boateng on the right. And Soudani beat the speed challenged Mertesacker on many occasions. 

It was all the weak moments for a German side rearing their ugly heads, especially with Mats Hummels being the latest man snakebitten by something. Now you can add Mustafi to the list, as Low looks like he will have to play Philip Lam at right back if Hummels doesn't recover against France. 

Mario Gotze surely will be dropped for Schurrle after another undistinguishable performance. But even Gotze would take that over a shock elimination that would have seen a remarkable 15 straight quarterfinals streak snapped. 

Instead it's a valiant effort foiled by Detuschland and a 16th consecutive appearance in the last eight for them.  


HT: Germany 0, Algeria 0


Well, Halilhodzic's changes have worked thus far, as Mostefa has had a great first half preventing Kroos and Schweinsteiger from getting into the final third outside the box, while after a shaky first pass, Lacen has been effective staying in defense positions. Plus Ghoulam and Soudani are causing big problems on the left for Germany, as is Feghouli whenever he gets forward. 

Low will need instant energy from his side, with more drive from Kroos and Lahm in the second half. This is where the absence of a Gundogan hurts. And now with Hummles absent, this Algeria side will firmly fill confident unless Gotze and Ozil become true presences in the box. 

For Halilhodzic, a perfect first half for him made more by getting it right. 

Pre-game Tactical Thoughts 


Halilhodzic with a few too many changes in my mind for this side. Especially with Hummels out, Mustafi is there for the taking.

Bringing in Lacen and Soudani, and having Slimani lined up not leading the line is very bizarre. It's a shame because Brahimi and Djabou have deserve there stars. There isn't much of a problem starting Taider over Bentaleb in my mind, but it's unnecessary to make all these changes that will make the Bosnian manager's already strained relation with the Algerian FA a bit more tenuous.

It will be important for Ghoulam to deal with not only Boateng coming in, but Ozil, Muller and even Gotze's movement as well whenever they come to his side. Halliche and Belkalem will need to be firm in keep all of those players in front of them and not risk any signs of highline play.

How Lacen will deal with Kroos in the midfield with the inactivity the Getafe man has had in this tournament is a whole another matter. Taider will have to take Lahm and be wary of whenever he likes to streak in, while Mostefa will have to monitor Schweinsteiger all around the field. 
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