Andre Schurrle is the first Chelsea player through to the final four of the World Cup in Brazil, with a single German goal deciding the only all-European quarter-final tie.

The deciding moment came early in a game in the Maracana that contrasted with much of the tournament in its lack of incident and excitement.

Schurrle, as in the previous games in this World Cup, started from the bench but was again asked to make a second-half impact by Joachim Low on a hot afternoon in Rio.

France had been one of the more free-scoring nations and had the better of the start to the game, with Karim Benzema poking one presentable chance wide, but they were behind after only 12 minutes to a quality set-piece. Centre-back Mat Hummels headed the ball over the reach of Hugo Lloris, the goal a lot to do with a quality free-kick delivery by Toni Kroos.

The game continued on tamely until finally, with just over 10 minutes to go to the break, France broke through and it took sharp reactions from Manuel Neuer to keep out Mathieu Valbuena’s shot. Benzema, who was playing as centre-forward in this game, was prevented from converting the rebound by a retreating white shirt.

His luck didn’t improve when another shot was stopped by the stomach of Hummels, and when he did work some space on the inside to shoot, his aim was too close to Neuer.

Schurrle came on with 68 minutes played. He instantly livened the game with a shot and then a spot of pass-and-move with Thomas Muller, but the Bayern Munich man didn’t read the script and failed to pick out Schurrle in front of goal.

Another block from Benzema by Hummels continued a sub-plot to the game before with France trying to force the issue, Germany and Schurrle had the chance to make their semi-final place secure on the break.

With one team-mate having first missed a low cross, the Chelsea man disappointingly fired straight at Neuer. Germany might have had reason to regret that deep into stoppage time but Neuer saved from Benzema once again, so it will be Schurrle and his team-mates playing the winners of Brazil v Columbia on Tuesday.

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