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Friday, July 4, 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Halftime and Postgame Thread #1 For 7/4/14: Hummels Humbles France (Postgame Wrap)

FT: France 0-1 Germany 

Photo from Getty Images

One experience class centerback over an talented but young one made the difference in Germany advancing to a record 4th semifinal. Whether their trip in the last four this time will come back with a title is another story. 

Nevertheless, despite France controlling most of the second half, it was still the brilliance of both Mats Hummels and Manuel Neuer who preserved the lead for another big win for their nation. 

There will still be concerns in attack for Low. Miro Klose's movement did not cause the French any trouble, while the still lethargic Mesut Ozil was poor. Thomas Muller couldn't get himself into real dangerous spots because of Klose, but still is a constant threat instead of Ozil. 

Didier Deschamps honestly did the best he could on the day, as he had to allow Benzema to have Grizemann and Valbuena on with him for as long as possible. Giroud just could not join him earlier in that half. 

Another survival for Deutschland, but they will need to improve in order to not be a "2nd place" side for another tournament.    

Halftime: Germany 1, France 0 

Photo from GettyImages 

Some wonder if Raphael Varane's inclusion in the starting lineup over Laurent Koscielny would come back to haunt Didider Deschamps. It did in that first half in the defining moment of the opening 45, as Hummels out strengthen the young defender for the goal. 

Otherwise, it was a good enough first half for France. Even with Lahm and Hummels returning to the backline, the highline is still susceptible to Griezmann and Valbuena runs from the back. It will be interesting to see if one time Matuidi or Pogba making a deep run from centerhalf if Cabaye has the ball to pick out a pass. That could free up Benzema or the wingers for a chance into the box from the center midfielder's forays forward. 

Low will look to get a bit more from his midfield though, as Schweinsteiger had just one significant offensive moment in the half, while the same could be said of Kroos (the man who provided the set piece assist to Hummels). Khedira needs to be the one to stay in front of Boateng and Hummels, but it would be a wiser decision by the German manager to have his backline at some point play a little bit deeper. 

(We'll be back for the postgame wrap for sure.) 
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