However, one part of their plan failed to materialize and as a result the Andre Schurrle goal early in extra time broke Algeria. Mesut Ozil provided the winning goal and Algeria could only grab one goal in extra time stoppage.
Coming into the match, the Germans had been tested by Ghana and, to a lesser extent, by the United States but not decisively enough to prevent a result. Algeria decided to use their speed up top to pressure the German defence that way while still dropping back to defend their end.
In forward Islam Slimani Algeria offered something that no Group G team could – a fast hold-up forward. This was what the U.S. was supposed to use to challenge Germany with except Jozy Altidore was injured.
A critical part of the Algerian strategy, however, was to score first. If they could have swiped a goal, they could have hunkered back and hit even more aggressively on the counter. However, dodgy calls and a superb game by Manuel Neuer prevented Algeria from a shock goal in the first half.
Germany came out in their usual 4-3-3 with one change at the back. Algeria countered with a 4-2-3-1.
In the first half, Algeria were active and didn’t sit back against the favorites. The fullbacks Faouzi Ghoulam and Aissa Mandi defensively shut down Ozil and Mario Gotze which left most of the German opportunities coming from the middle.
Almost as importantly Algeria relieved the inevitable pressure by attacking the German defence directly. The Algerian defnce consistently tried to spring Slimani on the counter by giving them the ball over the top with him matched 1v1 with Per Mertesacker and Jerome Boateng. With his speed advantage, especially on the Arsenal player, the German defence allowed multiple opportunities on the break and forced Manuel Neuer on three occasions in the first half alone to leave his box and play the ball in the field. All told the German keeper would leave his area 18 times to play the ball in the field, according to ESPN.
Despite excellent chances from Ghoulam and Mehdi Mostela, Algeria could not find that critical first goal.
On the other end, Germany certainly had their chances despite an excellent defensive game plan. Rais M’Bolhi continued to help this World Cup live up to its reputation as a tournament of extraordinary keepers by making a number of quality saves throughout the match.
In the second half, Germany countered with its formation while Algeria made few changes until late in the match. Schurrle gave Germany a push up the middle as Joachim Low sent in the forward for Gotze, who had stayed on the left. Algeria defended well, but Germany was relentless in its pressure and wore down the underdogs.
In the end, Algeria picked the right plan and tactics, and almost executed well enough to surprise the heavily favored Germans. It was that one goal that they could not score, however, that slowly unraveled their plan.