Brazil 2014 World Cup | France vs. Germany

Hello everyone, and welcome back for a new day of football. As there were no matches on yesterday and Wednesday, I’m back, and today, I’ll be blogging about the World Cup match between France and Germany as it unfolds. From here, I will copy and paste over the quotes made by football commentators from BBC Sport, plus the pictures, and also add my own thoughts in based on the match while it is in progress.

France 0-1 Germany

…and, we have kick off!!! Let’s all hope that today’s first match of the day is really good and that there are a lot of good goals scored.

Jonathan Jurejko: “Ever-cool German boss Joachim Low looks relaxed as he surveys the scene from his position on the Maracana touchline. His players have the honour of kicking things off. It’s show-time! Plenty of early possession for the Germans as they stroke the ball around between their back four and midfield pair of Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger. That draws plenty of boos from the French fans inside a sun-drenched Maracana. Patrice Evra isn’t shy of bombing down that Frrench left flank, but he is almost picked off by the Germans when he loses possession. But team-mate Mamadou Sakho hacks clear from inside his own penalty box. All Germany so far.”

Former Scotland International, Pat Nevin: “Lets hope we don’t see two European nations who are scared of each other and overly tactical. Lets hope they have learned something from the likes of Costa Rica and Mexico who have gone and attacked games – we’re in the Maracana for goodness sake.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Not sure who the locals will be supporting inside the Maracana. But the Germans appear to have some vocal support from an unlikely source – this trio of fed-up England fans…They will be happy because Germany are still dominating. Mamadou Sakho is needed to come to the rescue again, before Sami Khedira throughball runs out for a France goal-kick. After riding out the early pressure, France break forward to create a decent chance. Karim Benzema is in confident mood, having scored three times in Brazil already, but fires a volley wide from Mathieu Valbuena‘s pull-back.”

England fans supporting Germany in the World Cup quarter-final with France
Credit: BBC Sport and Associated Press ©

Pat Nevin: “France have joined the game at last, and that is relief as much as anything we can hear from the French fans. Karim Benzema tried to pass it into the net but playing against Manuel Neuer you have to give it some pace as well. Benzema will be thinking he should have put his foot through it.”

Mark Lawrenson (Football Analyst on Match of the Day): “It was a great ball from Mathieu Valbuena. Quick look, dink to feet, but the finish from Karim Benzema should have been better. Not sure why he went with his sidefoot.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Mathieu Valbuena is a tricky customer. The diminutive France midfielder tears another hole in the German defence, but pulls back to an empty patch of grass in the danger zone. Moments later, Antoine Griezmann does the same after latching on to a long ball. Double escape for the Germans. Zut alors! Seconds after twice escaping themselves, the Germans grab the opener. They win a free-kick close to the left touchline and Toni Kroos dinks it into the packed French box. Mats Hummels outmuscles marker Raphael Varane to nod in his second of the tournament. Advantage Germany.”


Mark Lawrenson: “That was like the header Marouane Fellaini scored for Belgium [against Algeria]. He just helped push the ball on with his header. He was battling with Raphael Varane as well at the time, that was how difficult the finish was. Great for the game.”

Pat Nevin: “Toni Kroos put the ball into such a dangerous area and Mats Hummels just wanted it more than Rapahel Varane. Varane just didn’t have enough power there and France have lost a goal through it. Germany will now look to stretch the French as much as possible. But remember, France made chances before conceding that goal and they can make more. An early goal means it will be brilliantly open from now on.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Have France got the stomach for the fight? Yup. They go on the attack as Mats Hummels returns to his day job, cutting out a teasing right-wing cross. Plenty of noise from the Germans inside the Maracana now.”

David Ornstein (BBC Sport): “Germany’s celebrations were notable for their restraint. That opening goal is a reward for their early pressure, but there’s a long way to go yet. Mats Hummels wheeled away to the corner flag but there was no over-exuberance. On the touchline, coach Joachim Low threw his arms into the air but quickly pulled them down and regained his focus. The Germany fans, by contrast, are loving it.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Tom McGrath: “Quality delivery. Quality header. Quality goal.”

Samuel Rhydderch: “Very clever set play from Germany, getting caught out with the long through balls from the French though … Creative play.”

Adam Momoniat: “Varane is a great young player but has just been schooled there by Hummels, was nowhere near stopping the German scoring there.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Joachim Low, looking resplendent in his usual all-in-black shirt and trousers combo, is already chewing on his fingernails in the German dug-out. Steady on Jogi, there’s a long way to go yet. His players are firmly in control at the moment, midfield trio Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger dictating the tempo. Are the French already showing signs of frustration? Yohan Cabaye slams late into Miroslav Klose, crudely cutting down the veteran Germany striker. That’s no way to treat a World Cup record goalscorer…”

Mats Hummels
Credit: BBC Sport ©

Pat Nevin: “Germany are a long way ahead in terms of possession and they are not just holding the ball across the back line but trying to break through France – it’s possession for a purpose. At the moment this is a game of really high technical quality but things will really take off if France can score one back.”

Massimo, in Italy, via text: “Germany are showing their strengths….play like this, World Cup is theirs!”

Andrew via text: “Yes! That’s exactly what this game needed, and early German goal. France looked happy to sit back, soak up the pressure and let the Germans play all of the football, no France have to go toe-to-toe now.”

France v Germany
Credit: BBC Sport and Associated Press ©

Jonathan Jurejko: “Karim Benzema is flagged offside for the second time in quick succession – that’s like Darren Huckerby is his 1990s heyday. The French are settling into their stride as they try to keep the ball before looking for the quick ball forward which worked so well for Algeria against Germany on Monday. Miroslav klose tumbles to the turf inside the French box. Penalty? Not according to referee Nestor Pitana. And his opinion is the only one which counts. He’s having none of it. Too theatrical from Klose.”

Mark Lawrenson: “Maybe he should have controlled it and had a shot instead. What was that all about?”

Pat Nevin: “It was tight whether Miroslav Klose was offside or not but there is a definite pull there. Mathieu Debuchy did it quietly on the blind side of the referee, who could not see it.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Moments later, Germany threaten again. Thomas Muller aims to race on to a through ball which cuts apart the French defence. But Patrice Evra and Hugo Lloris do just about enough between them to snuff out the danger.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Lewis Borlase: “I wonder how many chances the wasteful Benzema will waste today.”

Nathan Bright: “In typical German fashion they’ve just put a towel down to reserve their spot in the semi-finals.”

Jacques O’Neill: “Pogba is not the future, he is not a Zidane, Deco, Rui Costa or Riquelme. He has strength energy etc he could be a Vieira.”

France v Germany
Credit: BBC Sport and Associated Press ©
France v Germany
Credit: BBC Sport and AFP ©

Jonathan Jurejko: “Great to see Germany skipper Philipp Lahm in a more familiar position at right-back. The ‘Magic Dwarf’ as he is nicknamed – honestly – rises highest to nod back a French cross safely to keeper Manuel Neuer. All under control. A flurry of German corners as they look to entice France keeper Hugo Lloris off his goal-line. He bites on the bait like a hungry koi carp, but gets away with a failed attempt to punch clear as one of his defenders head away the danger. Another Germany penalty shout is met by another blank expression from referee Nestor Pitana. Thomas Muller, socks rolled down like his 1970s namesake Gerd, goes down under a clumsy challenge from Mathieu Debuchy. Not enough contact for me. Now it’s France turn to pile on the pressure. Germany keeper Manuel Neuer gets his gloves mucky for the first time, springing into action to palm away Mathieu Valbuena’s effort as Karim Benzema prods wide the rebound with the aid of a deflection. Then, Mahadou Sakha heads over the cross bar from the resulting corner. Warning signs for the Germans.”

Mark Lawrenson: “A brilliant save, a good run and then a good ball in also. There was great pressure on Karim Benzema after the first save from Mathieu Valbuena, who did well to get his shot away from the angle he was in. France carry a threat.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Lawro also reckons that Manuel Neuer is “without a doubt” the best goalkeeper in the world. Think a few others might have something to say about that…Short break as Germany midfielder Sami Khedira is whacked in the head by a loose ball. Both sets of players take advantage by putting plenty of fluids in the tank.”

Pat Nevin: “Manuel Neuer’s save from Mathieu Valbuena was absolutely first class, somehow he sticks out a left hand – for me that is one of the saves of the tournament. What France need in midfield is a Michel Platini – somebody who can play that ball over the top of the Germany defence so it just sits up. Karim Benzema is not working hard enough – he is leaving it to the wide players to make that run in behind when it should be him.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Play restarts after confused-looking referee Nestor Pitana asks Germany’s Thomas Muller where he should start play from. “Just outside the France area” was presumably his reply…Germany win a free-kick in an identical spot to the one which set up the opening goal – but this time the French get their act together and head clear. Under five minutes for Les Bleus to grab an equaliser before half-time.”

David Ornstein (BBC Sport): “That chance for Mathieu Valbuena has finally given the France supporters something to cheer about. They were looking fairly dejected until then, preferring to jeer opposition possession rather than will their own team forward. But Les Blues are starting to expose Germany’s high defensive line and will be confident of working their way back into this match.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Almost a decent chance for the French. Karim Benzema peels off his marker into space, but Mats Hummels wakes up to stick his gut into the path of the France striker’s header. Karim Benzema is finding pockets of space in the German defence now. The Real Madrid man peels off to the left, picks up Paul Pogba’s raking pass, cuts inside two German defenders and….fires tamely into Manuel Neuer’s arms.”

Pat Nevin: “Karim Benzema is such a typical centre-forward – he walks around with hunched shoulders and doesn’t want to close players down but give him the ball in his favourite area and he comes alive. Manuel Neuer was in the right place again.”


Jonathan Jurejko: “Mathieu Valbuena skips into space down the German left, twice in quick succession, only to see both of his flat crosses thumped clear by a white shirt. Promising start from the Deschamps-inspired French.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Jeff Logan: “Bad move by France by playing the 4-3-3 formation against strong teams. I would bring Giroud up and play Benzema on the left.”

Harshit Khare: “Germans going about it in their usual well oiled manner. The French need to invoke the Rousseau within. Where is the romance!?”

Peter McMillan: “Is this the stage where the World Cup loses momentum? More pedestrian pace in France v Germany. Hope it picks up.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Mathieu Valbuena is again causing a nuisance of himself. He wins a cheap free-kick off Bastian Schweinsteiger and the little man’s set-piece almost catches the German defence napping. But France defender Mamadou Sakho, who looks suspiciously offside, cannot call Manuel Neuer into action.”

Pat Nevin: “I have to say that Mamadou Sakho looked miles offside, the linesman left his flag down but might have raised it if Sakho had got a touch. France lifted it a little bit towards the end of the first half but Germany had also taken their foot off the gas a little just to control the game. That is what France have to do again now. They have to realise that they are in the quarter-finals of the World Cup and have to give everything they have got to give. There may be questions about the Germans being tired after the Algeria game, well France have to go and ask that question and find out.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “I’ve hardly mentioned Mesut Ozil, who looks a shadow of the man who lit up the Premier League in the early days of his time at Arsenal last year. But the German finally shows signs of life, pounding down the left channel of the French box to force a corner. France keeper Hugo Lloris comes to collect the set-piece, is under pressure from Mats Hummels, and is rather fortunate to get a free-kick for his efforts.”


Jonathan Jurejko: “Referee Nestor Pitana, like a strict headmaster, scrawls the first name into his notebook after calling over Sami Khedira for a ticking off. The Germany midfielder grapples with Antoine Griezmann in a move more akin to WWE and rightly sees yellow. Didier Deschamps looks rather pensive from his vantage down in the shade of the French dugout. Time for a change soon perhaps? Almost all of his subs are warming up behind the Germany goal.”


Pat Nevin: “This is definitely no longer a Germany-dominated game. For the first time Antoine Griezmann is allowed to go and break into space and that is a clear yellow card for Sami Khedira, who brings Griezmann down when France had an extra man on the break. The French have opened up and Griezmann and Mathieu Valbuena are trying to stay up as close to Karim Benzema as they can. But the Germans love to play on the break too.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “France midfielder Blaise Matuidi’s surging runs are familiar to those of you who follow Ligue 1 and the Paris St-Germain man produces another here on the international stage. But his cut-back from the left wing is intercepted by Bastian Schweinsteiger’s sliding challenge. Moments later, Germany keeper Manuel Neuer breaks sweat for the first time since the break when he plucks Raphael Varane’s free header out of the still Rio air.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Barry Nolan: “This is a game where Remy could make a difference.”

Shaun Grey: “France going out with a bit of a wimper at this rate.”

Max: “Hope France don’t end up kicking themselves for tossing away the first 45 minutes without pressurising.”

Pat Nevin: “A great save from Manuel Neuer. Other goalkeepers would have punched that but Neuer gets there with ease, catches it and puts his team back in possession. One of the debates I don’t want to have is who has been the best goalkeeper at this World Cup – that is a tough one.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “France striker Karim Benzema chests down a deep ball towards the far post but is halted by the referee’s whistle as he prepares to thump a shot goalwards. Handball apparently. Benzema looks as bemused as everyone else. The game is all very bitty now. Neither side are taking it by the scruff of the neck – but it is the French who need to. Rather surprisingly it is Germany who blink first. Joachim Low is preparing to bring on Andre Schurrle – which could signal the end of Miroslav Klose’s afternoon.”

France v Germany
Credit: BBC Sport and Reuters ©


Jonathan Jurejko: “These Brazilians are a hard crowd to please. The neutrals in the Maracana are whistling and jeering as the match becomes a little flat. And here’s the German change we expected. Chelsea player Schurrle, who has scored in each of his last five internationals, replaces Klose who will not become the World Cup’s outright leading scorer today. Andre Schurrle almost becomes an instant hero within seconds of his introduction. The German forward is agonisingly close to sticking his toe on to Thomas Muller’s wicked low cross from the right.”


Jonathan Jurejko: “Here’s the substitution that the French have been crying out for. Wait – it’s not Olivier Giroud. It’s not Loic Remy. It’s Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who trots on in place for Mamadou Sakho. Hmmm…”

Pat Nevin: “I will have to think about that first French change long and hard – when you have to score a goal why would you replace a centre-back with a centre-back? Especially when Mamadou Sakho looked perfectly fine. Andre Schurrle was unlucky not to start, I think he is having a great tournament. With his pace he could be the German player to have the most impact on this second half because his team-mates are beginning to run out of legs, there is no doubt about it.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Now Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps makes his statement of intent. Off comes holding midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who is replaced by ex-Newcastle team-mate Loic Remy. Can his pace stretch the tiring Germans?Not yet. In fact, it is the French defence which is being stretched. Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil combine to create half a chance, shortly after Andre Schurrle picked another hole in Les Bleus backline. Here’s the French onslaught. Karim Benzema swivels in the box before seeing his volley blocked by a brilliant sliding challenge from Mats Hummels. Then, Blaise Matuidi tries his luck from a narrow angle, forcing Manuel Neuer to punch clear at his near post. Didier Deschamps fist-pumps his team forward from the touchline.”

Karim Benzema shoots
Credit: BBC Sport

Mark Lawrenson: “I just think that if Karim Benzema let the ball run through to Mathieu Valbuena, it might have had a different outcome. Benzema did well, and his shot was blocked but if he let it run through Valbuena was waiting.”

David Ornstein (BBC Sport at the Maracana): “An odd scene in the stands as the pockets of Brazil fans begin singing their own songs in an attempt to improve a low-key atmosphere, drawing resounding boos from the German masses around them. Stewards are currently moving in to deal with an incident.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Bob: “France need to find the Go switch, at this rate they are going home!”

AADZ: “The Germans have the French shackled! Where’s the world class midfield now? Seen nothing of Pogba & co.”

Josh Jackman: “We were so spoiled by that ridiculously dramatic second round.”


Jonathan Jurejko: “The French break quickly on the counter as a German move breaks down through Mesut Ozil on the edge of the opposition box. Antoine Griezmann could be in as he flies forward at pace, but is hauled down by Bastian Schweinsteiger. That is the very definition of a professional foul. End to end stuff now! A France free-kick pinballs around the German penalty area before it cannons off Mats Hummels head and out for a corner. Germany keeper Manuel Neuer gathers the set-piece and launches a quick counter attack. Surely Andre Schurrle must score? Nope, the German substitute rushes his shot and fires straight at Hugo Lloris.How costly could that be? “


Pat Nevin: “The offside decision for the German counter attack was very tight but that should have been game finished there and then for Andre Schurrle and Germany. You have to applaud the French. They have made the change and now Antoine Griezmann, Loic Remy, Karim Benzenma and Mathieu Valbuena are all up there. The two yellow cards Germany have had in this game have both been great yellow cards. It sounds cynical but both stopped great chances for France on the break.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Another throw of the tactical dice for either manager. Mesut Ozil is replaced by Mario Gotze in a like-for-like change for Germany, while France – as they must – make a more attacking switch. Arsenal striker Oliver Giroud replaces midfielder Mathieu Valbuena. Five minutes for Les Bleus to stay in this World Cup.”

David Ornstein: “A subdued atmosphere in the stands, little activity on the touchline and a scrappy encounter on the pitch. This match is badly in need of an equaliser if we are to see anything like the drama witnessed so far in this tournament.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Low key would be one way to describe this second half – but the Germans will not be complaining. Andre Schurrle has another chance to kill off the French, but blasts a low shot into the stomach of Les Bleus defender Raphael Varane. They hurt. A lot.”


Jonathan Jurejko: “Their team might be losing but the pained expression on the French fans in the Maracana stands turn to smiles when they spot their mugs on the big screen. Someone have a word….Back on the pitch, their team continue to chip away at the German defence. But in truth they don’t look like hurting them as Mats Hummels block another probing pass. Four minutes of stoppage time between Germany and the semi-finals. Germany are content to run down the clock as France substitute Olivier Giroud is kippered by Andre Schurrle. Schurrle draws Giroud into a clumsy foul which serves to tick down the clock. Germany almost there….Big chance! Karim Benzema plays a neat one-two with Olivier Giroud in the German box, but Germany keeper Manuel Neuer paws clear with a strong right hand. Benzema knows it is all over for the French.”




More to follow…

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