• World Cup

Mertesacker hits out at critics

ESPN staff
July 1, 2014
Per Mertesacker endured a tough night against Algeria's forwards in Porto Alegre © Getty Images

Per Mertesacker angrily claimed Germany are no circus act despite a poor performance as they beat Algeria 2-1 to advance to the World Cup quarter finals.

Germany endured a difficult night in Porto Alegre and needed extra-time goals from Andre Schurrle and Mesut Ozil to secure a last-gasp victory.

Joachim Loew's side have struggled to convince since their 4-0 victory against Portugal in their opening game in the group stage, but Arsenal defender Mertesacker reacted angrily when asked by a German reporter what they need to improve.

"Do you want a successful World Cup or do you want that we get eliminated with beautiful football once again?" he replied.

"I don't care how we did it. We reached the final eight. That matters. Do you believe we play a circus group in the last 16? They made it really difficult for us, but we were convincing during extra time and were deserved winners in the end."

Schurrle, meanwhile, admitted that match did not play out as his side had hoped. He said: "Algeria did a great job, attacked us well, and we did not get into the match. But, regardless of how we did it, we reached the quarter finals."

Germany finally made the breakthrough on 92 minutes when Schurrle flicked the ball across the line and the forward admitted there was an element of luck. He added: "I wanted to get the ball towards the goal. I scored a similar goal three weeks ago."

Loew was also willing to acknowledge that Germany had not been at their best at times during the victory.

"We made our life difficult in the first half, but were the better team in the second half and in extra time," he said. "We could have decided the match without extra time. We lost the ball too often, and invited the opponent to play counter-attacks.

"They got around our pressing by playing long balls - they can do that. Maybe you need such games at a tournament. Other teams, like Brazil, also had their difficulties."

Manuel Neuer cam out regularly to help sweep up Algerian counter attacks but the Germany goalkeeper said: "I did not change my style of play. I often play like that. The pitch was a bit wet, which made it easier for me."

Attention now turns to the quarter final with France. Neuer added: "I don't want to be too critical now - it will be difficult enough against France. We need to be more direct in attack and need to be careful when losing the ball."

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