Mats Hummels’ header earned Germany a 1-0 win over France and a place in the FIFA World Cup semi-finals for the fourth time in succession.
The Borussia Dortmund defender missed the last-16 victory over Algeria as a result of flu-like symptoms, with the bug having also affected a number of the squad in the build-up to Friday’s game.
Hummels, however, showed now ill-effects of any sickness in the 12th minute, rising highest to head home Toni Kroos’ free-kick from the left and hand Germany victory at the Maracana.
Such consistent performers throughout World Cup history with seven final appearances, Germany once again showed their ability to grind out results in major tournaments as they successfully stifled France, Manuel Neuer showing great athleticism to thwart Karim Benzema in stoppage time.
The second period was a surprisingly turgid affair, with France showing no real urgency to find an equaliser and get back into the quarter-final clash until the last 15 minutes.
For Didier Deschamps’ men, a competition that had promised so much after the group-stage thumpings of Honduras and Switzerland ended in bitter disappointment, as France failed to gain revenge for semi-final defeats to West Germany at the 1982 and 1986 editions.
Germany made the better start, but it was France who had the first effort on goal in the seventh minute when Benzema volleyed Mathieu Valbuena’s chipped pass narrowly wide.