Germany made their way into the quarter-finals of the World Cup last night much like an errant teenager steals back into the house after they have broken curfew.
The Nationalmannschaft were late in reaching the last eight and did so wearing a sheepish look which suggested that they knew they had been expected there long before goals from Andre Schurrle and Mesut Oezil.
Those goals were scored both in extra time and in some ignominy. This has been a finals when Joachim Loew's side have shone as brightly as the sun above Cocacabana Beach, yet last night their ambitions of reaching the quarter-finals appeared at times as though they might sink below the horizon. Algeria were bold, ambitious and, perhaps, fearfully unfortunate to have gone down in extra time.
Loading article content
Abdelmoumene Djabou would score a consolation just a minute after the Germans had their second. His effort was celebrated meekly but there was almost an eruption from the Algerian supporters when Madjid Bougherra was found in the penalty area just seconds from the end, only for his header to drop tamely into the hands of Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
That was not symbolic of their night, however. Neuer was unnerved by shots from Sofiane Feghouli and Faouzi Ghoulam during the first half, while the goalkeeper also showed an alarming penchant for racing out of his penalty area to act as sweeper.
Those moments offered theatre and he would take centre stage again after Islam Slimani was released in behind Per Mertesacker by a long punt up field. The Algerian forward turned intending to make a run at goal but was met instead by Neuer who slid in to clear the ball.
His compatriots appeared to have gone to ground too as the match went into extra time without a decisive goal. Subsitute Shurrle sought to make amends when he produced a delectable flick after just two minutes to put the Germans ahead and Oezil added a second with just two minutes to go to set up a meeting with France in the next round.
Djabou was able to score just seconds later but it was a parting shot as Algeria dropped out of the finals.