Featured Matches
Previous
Arsenal
Besiktas
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
ESPNDeportes 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Arsenal
Besiktas
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
ESPNDeportes 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Steaua Bucuresti
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Malmo FF
SV Salzburg
ESPN3 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bradford City
Leeds United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
DC United
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
León
Herediano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Municipal
Pachuca
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cobresal
General Díaz
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Trujillanos
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Libertad
Nacional Potosí
11:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
River Plate
Universidad Católica
11:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Deportivo La Guaira
2:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Barcelona
2:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Atletico Rafaela
Newell's Old Boys
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rosario Central
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
River Plate
Defensa y Justicia
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Boca Juniors
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
U.A.N.L
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Celaya
ESPNDeportes 12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Chiapas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Mineros de Zacatecas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Correcaminos
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
UNAM
Mérida
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Zacatepec
Guadalajara
ESPNDeportes 2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
América RN
Atletico Paranaense
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Santa Rita
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Botafogo
Ceará
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bragantino
Corinthians
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
Flamengo
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Palmeiras
Atlético MG
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
LDU Quito
Deportivo Quito
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Pohang Steelers
0
0
LIVE 23'
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Guangzhou Evergrande
Western Sydney Wanderers
12:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Amazulu
Bloem Celtic
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Mamelodi Sundowns
Orlando Pirates
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Pretoria Univ
Free State Stars
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Silver Stars
Kaizer Chiefs
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SuperSport United
Mpumalanga Black Aces
5:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Saprissa
Santos
Postp
Game Details
Carmelita
Club Sport Uruguay
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cartagines
Perez Zeledon
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Antigua
Marquense
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Petapa
Coatepeque
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vida
Marathon
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

Germany win is good news for Gunners

Arsenal Jul 14, 2014
Read

Honigstein: What next for Germany?

Germany Jul 14, 2014
Read

Five Aside: Gotze's historics secure glory

Five Aside Jul 13, 2014
Read
 Posted by Raphael Honigstein
Jul 5, 2014

Germany come of age with glory in sight

Alexi Lalas argues that this is Germany's best chance to finally get over the semifinal threshold and win their fourth World Cup.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Wolfgang Niersbach had a straightforward explanation for Germany's 1-0 win over France at the Maracana. "More important than any [tactical] set-up is the mindset," the German FA chairman insisted after Joachim Low's team had secured a fourth consecutive semifinal appearance at a World Cup.

Most observers will balk at such a simplistic assessment. But Thomas Muller, a player who can come up with interesting answers to even the most banal questions, took the same line. Quizzed about Germany's solid defensive game, the 24-year-old didn't discuss the national manager reverting back to the Schweinsteiger-Khedira partnership in the middle, Low's preference for Jerome Boateng over Per Mertesacker at the heart of the defence or the much-vaunted decision to put Philipp Lahm back into his customary right-back role.

Instead, Muller said the key had been his team's "good mentality."

- Jones: The match that failed to fire
- Delaney: France run out of steam
- Marcotti: Germany back in old routine

"Everybody made the runs that are necessary to be in the right position defensively," he explained.

"That's maybe something that is often missing in qualifiers and friendlies, because you don't toil as much when there's less at stake. But under pressure, we are extremely strong in the head. As long as we all fight this well, we will be very hard to beat."

If Muller and Niersbach are right, this shines a new light on the team's struggles for defensive assuredness over the last couple of years (as well as in the games against Ghana and Algeria at this World Cup).

Forget the Schweini-Khedira conundrum (and Low's solution -- Lahm's midfield role); forget the absence of the Bender twins; forget the high defensive line. The real flaw, Muller and Niersbach seemed to suggest, wasn't so much in Germany's tactical blueprint but the team's willingness or lack thereof to go the extra mile in its implementation.

You'd expect this kind of assessment from a workhorse like Muller, who had once again been an indefatigable runner in subtropical conditions. "It felt like playing in a grill shack today," he joked. "But you don't contest a World Cup quarterfinal every day. One should use the opportunity to get a bit of exercise."

The stats bear him out. Germany ran a combined 7.5 km more than the French despite being in front for 78 minutes and restricting themselves to sporadic attacks in the second half. You could say that Germany ran so much, the fact that Schweinsteiger and Khedira were underwhelming didn't matter.

Mats Hummels' header from Toni Kroos' free kick is proof that Germany's decision to practise set plays is paying off.

The former won only one of six duels, the latter two of eight -- poor returns for defensive midfielders. Those numbers belie the most important aspect of their task on Friday, however. By simply occupying the decisive space on the pitch, they forced Les Bleus to play long balls over the top, back or sideways or to lose the ball in vain efforts to power through that congested middle.

When you defend in such a disciplined manner, and in numbers -- Schweinsteiger and Khedira were both able to sit in the second half because France were chasing the lead -- you don't need a defensive midfield specialist.

Oliver Bierhoff, one of only three members of the delegation who have been part of a trophy-winning team (the others are goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke who, like Bierhoff, won Euro 96; and team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt) recognised the pressure game against the French had brought the best, traditional traits out of the players.

"We were very organised and filled in each for each other," said the general manager. "That has been always the strength of German teams."

Those so-called German virtues had become a bit of dirty word during the Klinsmann/Low era but they have now made a comeback at a very opportune time, along with the extremely useful ability to score from dead balls. Low used to almost sneer at practising them. He was more concerned with using the time to implement his passing game.

The 54-year-old has changed his mind, though. "We have practised them more than in the past, and the players appreciate it," said Bierhoff. "They know how important these situations can be."

Indeed. Mats Hummels' goal had come from Toni Kroos' free kick. It's all part of a return back to the basics ("the most crucial bit is knowing how to see out a game," said Muller), but without abandoning the progress of the last few years.

"Compared to 2010, we are much less reliant on the counterattack; we have many more options and ways to play in attack." Muller said. "We can still improve in that respect."

Germany had also found a new maturity, said Bierhoff. "We have many players who have won the Champions League. They know what needs to be done, they know how stay calm before and during important matches."

The complete absence of euphoria after the France game in the bowels of the Maracana told its own story in that regard. The 2006 and 2010 teams had been incredibly pleased to get to the semifinals. The current crop aim much higher.

No, they're not an Ubermannschaft -- "we haven't seen any yet," said Bierhoff -- but against France, they at last looked like a team that was coming of age, a team comfortable with themselves. And that might just be enough in this year's competition.

Raphael Honigstein

Raphael Honigstein is ESPN FC's German football expert and a regular guest on ESPN FC TV. He also writes for the Guardian, among other outlets, and is author of Englischer Fussball.