Another day and another two quarter-finalists finalised. Another two big nations through and what a mouth-watering, titanic struggle it will be too. France vs. Germany. The history and the obvious angst these two feel for each other, with the 1982 meeting still fresh in the memory for the French.
However, these two didn’t have it all their own way. Firstly, France had to battle hard against Nigeria but when the breakthrough finally came through Paul Pogba in the 79th minute, there was only going to be one winner and the French wrapped up the victory in injury time through a Joseph Yobo own goal.
The Germans had a somewhat harder time of it. Algeria demonstrated that the German defence can be got at and should have been at least 2-0 up before the Germans fashioned their first meaningful attack. However, Germany will not give up and an outrageous flick from substitute Andre Schürrle opened the scoring and from then the Algerians, while still fashioning very good chances, was facing an uphill task.
Algeria deserve the award due to their ability to hurt the Germans and they came close a number of times to making the dream a reality. Even in the dying minutes of the game, Algeria attacked and scored a great team goal and could have scored a ultra-dramatic equaliser had Majid Bougherra grown enough to get enough power on the header that ultimately ended up in Manuel Neuer’s arms.
Nigeria were frustrating France, and the Moody Bleus were on the verge of running out of ideas. Then up steps Vincent Enyeama, the normally dependable keeper who on the back of a good season for Lille, proceeded to flap for a corner, completely miss the ball and then hand France and in particular Paul Pogba, the perfect chance to snatch the lead.
It wasn’t the first time he had been caught flapping though and France exposed him from a number of set pieces throughout the game. I think it’s fair to say that ol’ Vincent had a bit of a nightmare at the worst moment for Nigeria.
At a time when Germany would have taken any sort of goal to take the lead and preserve, Andre Schürrle produced a fine flick with the heel of his boot to put the ball past Algeria keeper Rais Mbolhi to hand the Germans the initiative in the tie.
I don’t think anyone would argue that Germany had been under the cosh at times against the plucky Algerians but again they managed to get the job done which surely seems ominous for the French?
As soon as the tournament started there was something instantly dislikeable about how the Cameroon squad were behaving. From threatening to strike over match bonuses and proceeding to put in 3 abject performances that didn’t justify their hype, now there is something that every professional sportsman abhors – match fixing.
Seven of the Cameroon squad are being investigated for match fixing and it is something that we don’t want to see in any professional sport let alone the global game of football. What must not happen though is it threatening to overshadow this wonderful tournament that has so far gone beyond expectations for the amount of entertainment and outstanding football that we have all seen.
Categories: world cup