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(USA Today) In what was, by the lofty standards set by this World Cup, a tame affair, the Germans pushed for an early goal, got it and held on.

France appeared to be a team capable of making a surprise run here, but it never did much to challenge. All that optimism will now be applied to the 2018 World Cup; France has certainly shown it has the talent to compete there.

Karim Benzema did have one solid chance in the last minute, but it was pushed away by the outstretched fist of Manuel Neuer.

The Germans, second-favorite behind host Brazil, were not exactly impressive. The midfield continued its strong play, and a pulled-forward backline managed to stifle the French attack.

But it's difficult to imagine how Germany will deal with either Brazil or Colombia, who play at 4 p.m. to complete the other half of this semifinal bracket. Then again, it's not unusual for the Germans to be underdogs against flashier teams.

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