France manager Didier Deschamps believes that Germany’s wealth of experience was the deciding factor in their World Cup quarter-final victory on Friday.
Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels’ towering first-half header proved decisive as Germany beat the 1998 winners 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro.
Hummels, returning from injury after missing his country’s 2-1 last-16 victory against Algeria on Monday, nodded home from a perfectly executed free-kick in the 12th minute inside the Maracana.
It was the 25-year-old's second goal of the tournament, with Hummels having previously netted in Germany’s opening group game victory against Portugal. Ultimately, it proved enough to book a semi-final date with Brazil in Belo Horizonte next Tuesday.
France, beaten by Germany at this stage in 1982 and 1986, had several chances to force an equaliser as they tried to twist and turn the German defence into making errors, but lacked urgency with their European counterparts more than happy to run down the clock.
Deschamps, who has managed to build one of the best French squads in recent years, insisted that there was not much to choose between the two teams but their rivals’ extra experience had made the difference.
Coincidentally, it is the fourth time in a row that Germany have reached the semi-final stage of the World Cup, with no other country to date having been able to manage this feat.
“They are used to playing big matches and have a more experienced team,” said Deschamps.
The 45-year-old, who won 103 caps for France between 1989-2000, went on to say: “We were a bit timid in the beginning but had some good moves and chances but we were not able to finish, while (Germany goalkeeper) Manuel Neuer had a good match as well.”
Deschamps, who was trying to become the first coach since Raymond Domenech to guide France to the last four of the World Cup since 2006, has also admitted that his players were noticeably upset as they felt that they were able to match their rivals for large periods of the game.
He said: “The players are disappointed and frustrated, I can’t get that away from them because I feel the same way, but there was not a huge gap between the two teams.”
France midfielder, Mathieu Valbuena who was superbly denied by the fist of Neuer in the first-half as “Les Bleus” were trying to force an equaliser feels that Germany were lucky to win the fiercely contested showpiece.
However, the 29-year-old who is an £8m summer target for Premier League side West Ham, also admitted that France lacked the overall desire and determination to win the game.
He told ‘Sportv’: “It’s a disappointment, a shame indeed. We made magnificent things but being eliminated is hard.”
The Marseille midfielder went on to say: “We lacked efficiency and goals. They didn’t have many chances, they were lucky with set-pieces. When we had chances, we couldn’t score. We are dismayed.”
Valbuena also believes that their opponents were a step above his French team, and were unable to avoid a soul crunching defeat.
He said: “It’s not enough, we wanted to reach the final. Despite giving everything, using all our weapons, it was not enough, we feel disappointed.”
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