Published July 04, 2014
In a battle of the midfields, a lone header goal from defender Mats Hummels was enough to lift Germany past France in an all-European World Cup quarterfinal match on Friday.
The center back, recalled to the Germany team after a bout with flu, out-muscled rookie defender Raphael Varane to get an inswinging free kick by Toni Kroos off the crossbar in the 13th minute.
France looked dangerous with balls over Germany’s high line in defense, but it was not enough to get past a very solid Manuel Neuer.
Mathieu Valbuena had France’s best chance in the first half – a hooked left-foot volley that was parried away by Neur. Karim Benzema pounced on the rebound, but his close-range effort was blocked.
The Real Madrid striker had some of France’s better chances throughout the game, including a late shot that was going into goal had it not been for the German goalie.
The game guaranteed Europe at least one representative in the semifinals — the Netherlands and Belgium also have chances to qualify on Saturday — and continued Germany's recent dominance over France at World Cups.
The most notorious of those was the meeting in the 1982 semifinals in Spain, when Germany won on penalties following a 3-3 draw in a match marked by a late and high tackle by Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher on France defender Patrick Battiston that escaped punishment.
That went down as one of the most riveting matches in World Cup history, but the rematch — 32 years on — couldn't have been more different.
Veteran striker Miroslav Klose started up front for Germany, but had no clear-cut opportunity to score a record-setting 16th goal at a World Cup. He will have another shot against the winner of the Brazil-Colombia quarterfinals.
Germany will play in the fourth straight semifinals on Tuesday as it seeks a fourth world title.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.