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World Cup Finals 2014
Match of the Day Live: MOTD: France v Germany
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There was a chorus of boos from locals when Argentina, and not Brazil, played the first World Cup 2014 match at the revamped Maracana Stadium. Rio’s legendary bowl is the closest the country comes to a footballing temple; watching Lionel Messi skip over the turf must have felt like desecration.
The Maracana now plays host to the second quarter-final. Ticketless Chilean fans and rickety staircases aside, the old place with a new face has stood up well to international scrutiny, but is still awaiting its own moment of history.
When the Maracana was first built for the 1950 World Cup, Brazil played five of their six matches there. This year, by contrast, the hosts will not play at the refurbished stadium unless they make it to the final. That quirk of the fixtures seems fitting. The Maracana was, after all, the setting for Brazilian football’s darkest hour, a 2-1 loss to Uruguay in the 1950 final. If the current generation are to banish that demon from Brazil’s sporting temple, they must first earn their place.
France v Germany (Kick-off 5.00pm). Coverage of the first quarter-final match from the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, featuring the sides that came through the last-16 fixtures on Monday. This is the first meeting between the nations at a World Cup finals since 1986, when they clashed in the semi-final for the second time in succession. Germany were victorious on that occasion, as they were in 1982 in a penalty shootout after one of the all-time classic matches, and calling a winner this time is equally difficult. Both struggled in their last-16 fixtures against Nigeria and Algeria respectively, looking distinctly second best until the second half, as their African opponents missed chances and ultimately lacked the experience and quality to cause an upset. Germany needed extra time to secure a 2-1 triumph, while two late goals for France saw them through, and the winners of this tie will face Brazil or Colombia in the first semi-final on Tuesday. In the event of extra-time and penalties, subsequent programmes are subject to change.
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