An irritated Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker tonight hit out at suggestions that Germany were poor in their win over Algeria, insisting that that qualification for the World Cup quarter-finals was the only aim and that it had been accomplished
Joachim Low's players struggled to defeat the Algerians 2-1 in extra-time here, to line up a last eight clash with France, and took more than 90 minutes to score. Mertesacker insisted the struggle did not mean it would be impossible to beat the French.
He said to Germany's ZDF television: "Would you rather we played beautiful football but got knocked out?" he said to, visibly frustrated by the critical line of questioning. I don't know what you want from me - do you think that just Mickey Mouse teams are involved in the last 16? All that matters is we're in the quarter-finals."
Keeper Manuel Neuer and Andre Schurrle, who scored the opening goal early in extra-time, were vital to helping Germany avoid embarrassment
"Algeria did a really good job," said Mertesacker. "But it doesn't matter how we've done it, the main thing is we're in the quarter-finals. There was a bit of luck involved in my goal and now we've got to play better than this against France."
Captain Philipp Lahm also felt there were positives to take and that Germany should have sealed victory without the need for an additional 30 minutes.
"If you don't take your chances, then you've got to go into extra-time, and we had some huge chances in the second half," he said. "But we knew beforehand that it was going to be hard, and that's precisely how it was."
Low admitted hi side had been poor in the first half. "We had major problems in the first half to organise the way we play. We had many losses of the ball -simple mistakes which invited the opponent to start counters. We had problems with the long balls they played to their fast strikers. In the second half our build up was better. I don’t think we have played badly. We had six to eight chances in the second half. It was a victory of will power. We could have settled the game early in the second half.”