Ozil takes two hours to end his and Germany's frustration: how Stats Zone saw Germany 2-1 Algeria
With this their first ever World Cup knockout match, Algeria could've been forgiven for starting nervously, but in fact it seemed like it was the Germans who were edgy in the early stages.
Jerome Boateng and Per Mertesacker were by far the most involved players in the opening 10 minutes - as the below player influence screens show. Both looked particularly uncomfortable - hashing clearances and struggling to deal with long, direct passes.
Algeria had clearly planned to get the ball forward as directly and quickly as possible - perhaps in an attempt to expose Germany's back-line.
Although they completed a similar number of long passes to Germany, Algeria attempted long balls far more often and were generally aiming for higher up the pitch. They weren't always hung up in the air, either; many were drilled low and in behind the German defence when they had pushed up.
Germany had a secret weapon in defence, however - goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. The Bayern shot-stopper was never afraid to stray from his line. Or six yard box. Or 18-yard box. Over the 120 minutes he had 59 touches - 21 of them outside the box - ludicrously high numbers for a keeper. Only the four starting centre-backs bettered his 4 clearances - the fact 3 of those interventions came outside the box speaks volumes.
Thomas Muller, Neuer's Bayern Munich colleague, may not have left the Estadio Beira-Rio with quite the same credit. The forward was uncharacteristically hopeless in front of goal - hitting the target with just 1 of his 6 chances. He did, however, still bring plenty to the table, including the assist for Andre Schurrle's extra-time opener and creating 2 other chances for team-mates.
Mesut Ozil also endured a tough evening, but again there were some positive signs. Despite much of what he was trying simply not coming off - he only succeeded with 3 of his 7 attempted take-ons - the Arsenal man created 4 chances for team-mates. He also smashed in the second goal - but more on that later.
Part of the difficulty for the likes of Muller and Ozil was that Watford defender Essaid Belkalem was in such fine form. The 25-year-old was rock-solid at the back, with his impressive showing including 8 clearances and 5 blocks.
Germany may have often been left frustrated by Algeria's rigid defence, but they still peppered the Algeria goal with shots - although many were from outside the box. They had 10 shots on target in the initial 90 minutes, but couldn't beat the inspired Rais M'Bolhi in the Fennec Foxes goal. Their luck changes in extra-time, however, when 2 of their 4 shots on target found the net.
One man who played a key role in the reversal of Germany's fortunes was Chelsea's Andre Schurrle. The former Leverkusen man's intelligent movement saw him find space both inside and outside the penalty area - this helped him, and his team-mates, forge chances far closer to the opposition goal.
The 23-year-old opened the scoring with a tidy flick from Muller's 92nd-minute cross.
Algeria enjoyed something of a renaissance in extra-time, just when it looked like they were running out of puff. They completed 10 passes in the attacking third in the final 15 minutes of the match, having completed 24 in the first 105.
Ironically, their breakthrough only came when the game was lost. Ozil doubled Germany's lead late on - smashing home from close range after Schurrle's shot was saved. Djabou scored a superb consolation two minutes later - lashing home Feghouli's shot, but it was too little, too late.
Facts and figures
- André Schürrle has scored 5 goals in his last 5 competitive matches for Germany.
- Toni Kroos (473) has had more touches than any other player at this World Cup so far, Philipp Lahm (437) is the only other player to have more than 400.
- Algeria had 33% possession in this game, only against Belgium (2014) have they had less in any of their previous World Cup matches.
- Germany's total of 28 shots (including blocked) is a record for this edition of the tournament.
- Algeria (7) have scored more goals in this tournament than in their previous 3 World Cup finals combined (6).
- There have now been a record 27 goals scored by substitutes at this World Cup.
- Algeria have kept a clean sheet in just 1 of their 13 World Cup matches (0-0 vs England in 2010).
- Thomas Muller has been directly involved in 7 of Germany’s last 12 goals at the World Cup finals (5 goals, 2 assists).