Germany spent most of the World Cup hovering as one of the outside favorites — and still standing in that area code — even though they played uncharacteristically sloppy soccer over a first half that, if not for the competency (and relative godliness, contrasted against the rest of the team) of Per Mertesacker and Manuel Neuer, which could’ve seen them down three goals during the break rather than all even. But, luckily for fans of Germany, Nigeria’s early advances were rebuffed, and as they began to lag near the end of the match, Die Mannschaft was able to shake off whatever was going on and take advantage. The final score, scored in extra time, was 2-1.
“We are at the knockout stage now,” said Cobi Jones, the former player and current soccer analyst for Fox Sports who was one of the first soccer stars to leave the EPL to assist the launching of Major League Soccer. “Teams are leaving everything out on the pitch, and the games naturally get tougher.” Ceding the point that Germany didn’t play particularly well, Jones reiterated that while “Algeria did a good job figuring out certain issues with [Germany] … overall, Germany’s still a contender — they showed me also that they always find a way to win, and that’s what the Germans do.”
Now set to take on France, the German team looks set to continue to make it work, with a MacGuyvered backline bereft of anyone officially resembling a fullback. Further, because they just sort of always make it work, they’re still the favorites heading into the game. Sorry, France. One last thing — we can’t let this article go without talking about Thomas Müller’s inability to stay on his feet. It was magical. You can watch it here.