Rio de Janeiro: As appetizers go, it was more of a dessert: a World Cup quarterfinal at Estadio do Maracana between two European powerhouses featuring 22 starting players who all play club soccer in England, Spain, France, Italy or Germany. For much of the world, it was a heavyweight fight contested in one of the sport's greatest venues. (Complete FIFA World Cup 2014 coverage)
Here, of course, it was an undercard, as Brazil defeated Colombia, 2-1, later Friday in a game so big it prompted the Colombian government to declare a national holiday. Yet even without top billing, Germany did not mind. The Germans defeated France, 1-0, to advance to their fourth straight semifinal in front of an announced crowd of 74,240. Mats Hummels scored in the 13th minute, and the goal, his second of the tournament, held up to leave several frustrated French players in tears at the final whistle. (Match highlights)
France, which was one of the hottest teams at the group stage, will head home this weekend while Germany - which won despite having seven players troubled by illness in the days leading to the game - is set to face Brazil on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte for a spot in next Sunday's final.