Tuesday, July 1, 2014

World Cup 2014 : Germany vs Algeria 2-1

In an enthralling encounter, Germany prevailed over valiant Algeria 2-1 to reach the last eight of the tournament. Algeria, always a bogey team for Germany, was expected to put up a fight, bit I doubt, if anyone had bargained for such a tough match. In fact the Algerians were a determined lot from the starting whistle. They put the normally clinical & organised German defense under severe pressure, as Islam Slimani almost got a goal in the 10th minute, but Neuer in the goal managed to shoulder him for a corner & save the situation. A couple of similar moves, had the German defense caught napping, & once Slimani put the ball in the net, but was off sided. Mertesacker produced a couple of timely saves, as did Neuer, as the Germans grimly withstood the Algerian attacks coming in waves. Mustafi, Boateng, Howedes, Lahm, all looked at sea at the back & even the midfield of Goetze, Kroos, & Schweinsteiger looked completely out of sync. The first half hour was predominantly in Algeria's favour & they certainly looked the better team. But, the Germans, slowly came of their own. Mueller upfront along with Ozil, started to test the Algerian defense & Kroos too joined in the attack. Algerian goalkeeper was also up to the task & made some amazing saves to keep the match in balance.
Second half started with Joachim Low making two important changes, with Schurrle coming for Gotze & Khedira for Mustafi. This gave the German attack the much needed sting, & they came heavily into the Algerian half & would have scored, but for the goalkeeper, M'bolhi, who was dishing out the performance of this life. At the end of regulation time, it was still goal less...one of the most absorbing matches till date in the tournament...both team looking good to win.
With the game moving into extra time, the Champions luck came German's way, as in the 93rd minute, Muller sent in a low centre into the Algerian box & a lurking Schurrle slotted the ball past M'bolhi, who had looked unbeatable till that moment. 1-0. With time running out, Algerians tried their heart out but faltered in the German box & in counter attacks, Mueller missed two gilt edged chances. It was like a slug fest, with both team trading power football. Ozil, with a wall pass with Mueller, scored the second goal in the last minute of the extra time. 2-0. Algeria, responded with a goal within seconds, in the dying moments of the match, as Djabou cut the German defense to shreds. 2-1. Immediately after, they again raided the German defense, with Slimani & Djabou combining, but the header was weak & Neuer clasped the ball easily. It was all too late for the Africans to revive, as the referee blew the long whistle to end the match. What a match it had been....absorbing & pulsating till the very end. Les Fennecs, as the Algerian team is nick named, lost to the most consistent World Cup finals team, the Germans.
Neuer was brilliant under the bar, but the defense was patchy as was the midfield. However, Low would be worried about the forwards inability to score, as the tournament heads towards the business end. Mueller, Ozil, Goetze & maybe Klose need to fire ahead.

Its going to be Germans vs France in the quarterfinals, what promises to be a mouth watering contest between the two European powerhouses.