Germany’s Per Mertesacker has blasted critics of his side after they needed extra-time to see off Algeria 2-1 in their last 16 tie.
With the scores level at 0-0 after 90 minutes, Joachim Low’s team were slated for their lacklustre performance but Mertesacker has argued that making it through to the quarter-finals was enough.
"Would you rather we played beautiful football but got knocked out?" he told Germany’s ZDF television. "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."
Playing in his third World Cup campaign, Mertesacker has been a mainstay of the Germany side over the past decade, helping the team to third place finishes in both the 2006 and 2010 tournaments, while earning his 102nd cap in the win last night.
The 29-year-old is coming off a successful third season with Arsenal, in which the club ended their nine-year trophy drought with victory over Hull City in the FA Cup final, the centre-back earning numerous plaudits for his performances over the course of the campaign.
Having come so close to success over recent tournaments, Die Mannschaft arrived in Brazil as one of the more fancied European sides and their emphatic 4-0 opening win over Group G rivals Portugal seemed to serve as a sign of things to come.
Nevertheless, their displays since, against Ghana, the USA and Algeria, respectively, have been considered largely uninspiring by the national media and, though those three opponents were not to be underestimated, the team will need a more clinical performance when they come up against an in-form France in the next round.