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Germany 2-1 Algeria (AET): Algeria press and counter-attack brilliantly

Betting Statistics | Article posted on July 1st, 2014

The starting line-ups

Germany’s quality eventually shone through, but Algeria produced one of the best tactical performances of the tournament.
Mats Hummels was out injured, so Jogi Low moved Jerome Boateng into the middle and brought Shkodran Mustafi into the side at right-back.
Vahid Halilhodzic again made huge changes to his side – he switched five players from the XI which drew against Russia, including four of his front six. Interestingly, he didn’t select anyone who was a booking away from suspension.
Algeria had a very obvious gameplan here, and with more composure in the final third, it could have resulted in a famous victory…
Algeria press
Algeria have switched between a deep defensive block and a more aggressive midfield pressing system in this tournament, and here they opted for the latter. Halilhodzic formatted his midfield so the Algerian trio were in obvious positions to press the three German players in that zone, and forced Germany into some surprisingly sloppy passes throughout the first half, conceding possession cheaply and allowing Algeria to break.
Algeria were happy to keep a high defensive line, and in this period Germany lacked someone to run in behind the defence – Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze tucked inside and came towards the ball, while Thomas Muller usually made lateral runs. It felt like Germany simply needed to turn Algeria, and knock some balls in behind their defence to make up some ground.
Algeria break
Algeria were determined to hit the German backline quickly, and the majority of their attacks came from their left, where they’d successfully counter-attacked against Belgium in the first half of that 2-1 defeat. Faouzi Ghoulam repeatedly got forward with Ozil showing little interest in tracking, and he played some dangerous balls in behind the defence, and combined well with El Arabi Soudani.
In Algeria’s 4-2 win over South Korea, lone striker Islam Slimani played an all-round game, capable of meeting crosses because of his height, or running in behind the defence because of his pace. That was noticeable again, and sometimes it was difficult to say whether Algeria’s passes towards him were crosses or through-balls – they were somewhere between, because they were so determined to find Slimani quickly, having broken down the flanks.

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German defence struggles
Algeria were keen to exploit Per Mertesacker’s lack of pace. That’s a long-established weakness of the Arsenal centre-back, but it’s rarely been so obvious, and Algeria constantly attempted to hit long passes just beyond his reach.
The German centre-backs weren’t helped by the attacking nature of their full-backs. Yet again, they’re both simply centre-backs shoved out wide, and it’s difficult to work out the point of them pushing so high up the pitch – neither contribute much in the final third, and they surely would have been better

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