World Cup 2014 – Round of 16 Match Report: Germany 2 – Algeria 1

3 Jul

Germany v Algeria2Algeria valiantly challenges Die Mannschaft

Date: Monday, June 30,2014
Place: Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Attendance: 48, 063

Line Ups

For Germany

Manuel Neuer
Benedikt Howedes
Bastian Schweinsteiger (substitute Christoph Kramer 109’)
Mesut Ozil
Thomas Mueller
Philipp Lahm Captain, yellow card 107’
Per Mertesacker
Toni Kroos
Mario Goetze (substitute 46’ Andre Schurrle)
Jerome Boateng
Shrokdan Mustafi (substitute Sami Khedira 70’)

For Algeria

Rais M’Bolhi
Esseid Bakelem
Faouzi Ghoulam
Rafik Halliche captain, yellow card 42, (Substitute Madjid Bougerra 97’)
Sofiane Feghouli
Medhi Lacen
El Arabi Soudani (substitute Abdelmoumene Djabou100’)
Saphir Taider (substitute Yacine Brahimi 78’)
Islam Slimani
Aissa Mandi
Mendi Mostefa

It was a cool night on Monday – perfect weather for a football match – at least it started that way. And it wasn’t the rain that had people crying foul. Instead it was the play of the Mighty Mannschaft of Germany that confused the crowd and the spirit of the Fennec Foxes that uplifted even the neutral.

The first half was dominated by the ever-exuberant Algerians. The Desert Foxes played with absolutely no fear and took the game to the Germans every chance they could. With both Slimani and Feghouli in the line up and with the German defense looking ragged and confused, Algeria could have easily been ahead by one or two by the time the half ended. But German blushes were saved by Manuel Neuer and not only because he was an excellent keeper. He was also a major field player for the defense for much of the match. Mertesacker could not begin to compete with the speed of Islam Slimani or even Sofiane Fegouli and time and again, Neuer had to come way out of his box and clean up.

To prove the point, in the 16th minute, Islam Slimani had a very nice header right into goal that, thankfully for the Germans, was off side. However, this was a foreshadowing of the night Manuel Neuer was going to have. He could not count on his defense at all. Mertesacker didn’t have pace and in the first half, Boateng seemed to be really off his mark on reading the game. I lost count on how many times Neuer had to race out of goal but the ESPN commentators said it was at least 18 times.

Pic 2 NeuerGermany did have a few chances in the first half. Mueller had his best chance when Algerian keeper M’Bohli punched a ball away and landed right at Mueller’s feet. On any other night, this ball would have been in the back of the net. But this night was not any other night and M’Bolhi gratefully saw the ball go wide. A similar chance landed at the feet of Mario Goetze but he too could only watch M’Bolhi correct his mishandled ball.

At the half, Coach Loew brought in Andre Schurrle for Mario Goetze and he dramatically improved the pace for the Germans. However, it took until the last ten minutes of the second half for the Germans to show any of their strength. It also became dramatically clear that Algeria were going on fumes. As the half drained away, their defense started to lose its shape and the Algerian schedule started to catch up, even with these united warriors. Tempers were a bit short and play was a bit sloppy. But they made it to the end of regulation time with a clean sheet.

That didn’t last long into extra time, though, as Schurrle scored in the 92nd minute. (Again, another substitute goal!) It was a good and timely shot and there was nothing that M’Bohli could have done about it.

Pic 3 schurrle
Algeria brought on both Bougherra and Djabou for some extra pace into extra time but Mesut Ozil took advantage of the Algerian tired legs and scored what seemed to be the final goal of the match.
Pic 4 OzilBut proud Algeria would not stop fighting until the bitter end and Algerian fans were rewarded for their support and saw a lovely goal in the waning minutes by Djabou.
Pic 5 algerian goalSlimani had a good shot in literally the last minute of play but penalty shots were not meant to be. The exhausted Fennec Foxes left absolutely everything on the pitch and they were widely praised, not just by their own fans and by the commentators but throughout social media and, of course, at home in Algeria.

Rumors abound that there is tension in the German camp and this could explain why the performance by the Germans was so off. However, there is nothing that could be said that would take away the valiant effort of Algeria and the team’s united spirit that carried them this far. I personally hope they can build on this success and look forward to seeing their players in the future – and perhaps, we’ll be treated to another look at the Fennec Foxes in Russia in 2018.

– ForzaSusan

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