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Germany back in familiar World Cup territory after quarterfinal win

The 2014 World Cup is looking very familiar for Germany after July 4. For the moment, that is good for Germany after winning another World Cup quarterfinal over France by 1-0. But the end result will need to be different for the Germans than their last three trips to this level.

Germany returns to semis after shutting out France
Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Germany's fourth quarterfinal win in consecutive World Cups came relatively easy, after Mats Hummels headed in a free kick in the 13'th minute. France didn't get many serious chances after that, as the early goal held up in fairly uneventful fashion. At the least, the Germans didn't have to sweat this match out like they did with Algeria in the second round.

After finishing off the French, the Germans got to watch host Brazil advance to face them in the semifinals. They also got to see Neymar taken out for the rest of the tournament due to a fracture vertebra, after Thiago Silva got himself suspended for the semifinals with a second yellow card. Without two of their biggest stars, the Brazilians' chances against Germany became much more uncertain than they were hours earlier.

This is the first Brazil-Germany World Cup match since they met in the 2002 championship, won comfortably by Brazil. Not only was it the Brazilians' last championship, it was the first of three straight times Germany failed to win it all after reaching the semifinals. However, the Germans didn't even make the finals in 2006 and 2010, losing to eventual champions Italy and Spain.

By that pattern, Brazil will beat Germany en route to another title, even without Neymar. But both the Brazilians and the Germans have been very shaky in the World Cup at times, only to get themselves right in the quarterfinals after iffy second round matches. Nevertheless, Germany came out of the quarterfinals a lot healthier.

As for France, it suffered a rare loss in quarterfinal play and couldn't match its 1998 champions, or its 2006 finalists. The French seem to contend in the World Cup every eight years, so their next best chance might not come until 2022.

Germany has let three straight big chances go by without a crown. Now that the door is more wide open for the fourth time to be the charm, the Germans will let Brazil panic until their semifinal on Tuesday, July 8.

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