PHOTO: Mertesacker consoles Arsenal teammate after Germany triumph

Per Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker consoled Arsenal teammate Laurent Koscielny after their World Cup clash yesterday.

Germany progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup yesterday with a 1-0 victory over European rivals France at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

While it was elation and delight for Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker, it was heartbreak and disappointment for their Arsenal teammates Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud.

Former Real Madrid star Ozil was the only Arsenal representative to start the match for Germany, as his club teammates Mertesacker and Podolski both sat out nursing niggling injuries.

French duo Giroud and Koscielny were also substitutes from the start, but they were thrown on towards the end in a bid to salvage Les Bleus' hopes to little avail.

A Mats Hummels header in the first-half settled the contest, though for long periods both teams looked laboured and perhaps affected from the Rio’s strong humidity.

Nevertheless, a World Cup semi-final place was at stake and the French will be bitterly disappointed as they failed to test German shot-stopper Manuel Neuer.

The Gunners’ frontman Giroud came on for the final five minutes plus an extra four added on, but his impact was almost non-existent as he touched the ball four times and completed only two passes.

As the full-time whistle blew, 28-year-old Koscielny was among a number of French players to slump to the turf, knowing that it was a huge opportunity missed.

In need of consoling and words of encouragement, in a nice touch fellow Arsenal defender and centre-back partner Mertesacker proved the man for the job as the duo were snapped leaving the pitch side-by-side.

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