Would Germany persist with this high line? were Manuel Neuer has to keep rushing out of his goal like a train. Would Joachim low finally play Lahm in his correct position? which gives Germany so much
more balance when attacking and defending.Knowing Germany would play this high risk game i wondered who would start for France and it wasnt a suprise that Benzema started through the middle as we thought Didier Deschamps would go with some pace and directness up front to exploit Germanys high line. I was a bit suprised when France annouced they were going to play 4-3-3 as i thought they would need 2 holding midfielders to stop Thomas Muller finding space but i can see the logic as to why Deschamps went 4-3-3 to make the most of the pace on the break to get behind Germany.
In the early stages of the game (first 10 - 15minutes) it was obvious what both teams were there to do Germany wanted to keep the ball and slowly work themselves into the game and keep possession of the ball and France on the other hand were happy for Germany to have the ball and concentrated on dropping deeper and protecting the space.
Germany with high levels of possession didn't really look threatening enough with it but France had some good chances in which most were created by Valbuena the way he was finding space in that first half was fantastic to watch both on right or the left he created chances for Benzema one of which Benzema should have gone with his laces not the side foot but things were looking promising for France.
12 minutes in France concede an indirect free kick which was whipped in to the middle and Matt Hummels brilliantly muscle Varane out the way and finishes superbly with his head to put the Germans 1-0 up. After that both teams carried on playing the same way France were still happy on keeping the ball and Valbuena who was Frances best player of that half kept finding little pockets of space.
Its was clear to see that France were fixated on the idea of hit the ball behind Germany's back line and use the front 3 to try and get behind them but for the most part the passing was quite poor, apart from the odd occasions from Pogba and Valbuena. There was one chance were Valbuena got through and easily saved for Neuer , Benzema tried to get the rebound but nothing came of that chance.
France started the second half with more energy and intensity. They pressed higher and generally played a little higher up the pitch for the first 15 minutes of the second half but again the final pass was quite poor in trying to release the front 3.
After that first 15 minutes of the second half the match become a little drab ,slow and lacked intensity for a good 10 minutes until Andre Schurle came on for Klose to inject some pace and intensity into the game and likewise France made a similar change and brought on Remy to inject life upfront again.
Although the subs came on France still never really threw anything at Germany until 15 minutes before the end they started to become more adventurous with their passing and tactics. On the 84th minute France brought on Giroud who who went up front with Benzema. France were now 4-4-2/4-2-4 this was a ploy to try to win the game but for me this was too little too late and Dider Deschamps should have grown a pair and attacked Germany a lot earlier in the game. This change did lead to a late chance for Benzema which was a relatively easy save for Neuer.
On the whole i thought Germany deserved to go through they controlled the game. They aren't the most attractive side but they are arguably the most efficient and they are surely one of the favorites for the competition. As for France they lacked quality passing in the final third they relied on counter attacks and maybe in the second half if they had been braver and attacked earlier they may have scored and gone to extra time who knows.......