The 2014 World Cup has been full of surprises so far, with former champions being dismissed and previously unheralded sides making history by entering the knockout rounds. Algeria had one of those historic runs, finishing 2nd to Belgium and ahead of Russia and South Korea saw the Algerians advance to the knockout round for the first time in their history. Unfortunately for the boys in Green, they were drawn against the German football machine.
The winner of this match earns the right to play France in the quarterfinals, and due to the history between both of these nations and France, that match is sure to stir emotions on and off the pitch.
With Nigeria being eliminated by France earlier on in the day, Algeria was the final team from Africa left in the World Cup, and they opened the match playing determined to maintain in the World Cup. The Algerians had Germany on the back foot early on, with one ball hitting the back of the net just offside and other chances just narrowly saved by the Germans. The Germans needed a goal to settle their team and take some of the wind out of Algerian sails.
Try as they might, neither team could seem to break the deadlock, with both sides exchanging chances over the first half. Both keepers made excellent saves, with the German defense seeming really troubled by Algeria’s ability to play the long pass but also perform well in tight spaces. The technical proficiency of the German attackers proved dangerous for Algeria as well. The first half was very entertaining, and the hope was the second half would see more of the same, but with more goals.
Early in the 2nd half, Manuel Neur nearly missed a ball he came off his line for, but recovered by playing a deep ball to a streaking Andre Schürrle, who had come on for Mario Götze just after halftime, but an Algerian defender just cleared the ball off his feet.
The Algerian side was still up for the match, handling the pressure of the German attack well and pressing when they were in possession, as well as attacking well on the counter.
As the minutes ticked away, both teams seemed to be exchanging attacks well, but the pressure was surely greater on the favorites, Germany, than their upstart Algerian opponents. Inside the final 10 minutes, the Germans began to look as if they would finally find the back of the net, with multiple chances just barely being saved by Algerian keeper Rais M’Bolhi, who had a superb match.
Despite some nervy final moments, it remained scoreless after the regulation 90 minutes, and so the Desert Foxes would take the German machine to extra time.
Just two minutes after the start of extra time, the Germans finally broke the deadlock. A great run from Muller led to a cross in the box, where Chelsea’s Andre Schürrle was waiting between the center-backs for a brilliant finish, his 14th goal for Germany.
1-0 to the Germans, all they had to do was hold on.
Algeria could have capitulated and given up, but they kept fighting on and nearly equalized a few times over, but every time the chance was just kept out.
Germany finally put the nail in the coffin in the 119th minute, when Mesut Ozil scored off a rebound from Andre Schürrle.
In the 2 minutes of stoppage time, Algeria finally got themselves onto the scoreboard, but it was too little too late.
Algeria was still able to walk off the pitch knowing they were moments from overtaking the German machine, but had nothing to be ashamed of after leaving it all on the pitch in this match.
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