By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Germany edged past Algeria 2-1 at the Estádio Beira-Rio this evening to make it into the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Algeria pushed the three-time world champions all the way in an invigorating contest, which the Germans, as the tie wore on, just about deserved to win.
At the final whistle Algerian players lay strewn across the grass, they had given their all and come agonizingly close to upsetting one of the giants of the world game. The tie had finished goalless after 90 minutes and so we entered the additional 30 minutes of extra-time.
Germany finally broke the deadlock in the 92nd minute, when the rugged Algerian backline just could not hold on any longer. Andre Schurrle reacted fastest to Thomas Muller’s low cross, making connection with his heel to convert the ball into the net. Mesut Ozil thought he had put the game to bed with only a minute remaining.
Yet Algeria were not done yet, responding immediately. Adbelmoumene Djabou drove home from ten yards, but it was to prove too little too late for the Africans. Few gave Algeria a chance of progressing from a group that contained Belgium and Russia. After pushing Germany to the wire for two hours, the players can leave Brazil with their heads held high.
The stadium was a cauldron of noise thanks to Algeria’s passionate support. Not once did they stop singing their hearts out, and it made for a terrific atmosphere.
The team’s game-plan was clear. Defend as a unit and try to hit the Germans on the counter-attack. Islam Slimani, their hero against Russia in their final group game last week, came close to opening the scoring in the first half. He beat goalkeeper Manuel Neuer with a header but the linesman correctly raised his flag for offside.
Germany took a while to get going, especially in the first 45 minutes, and Mario Gotze was particularly lethargic and was replaced by Schurrle at the half-time interval. Only then did the Germans manage to look a threat. Schurrle had his moment early into extra-time, and set Germany, by a whisker, on their way.
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