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Published:Wednesday | July 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Free kick was a studied move


A free kick that provided one of the most comical moments of the World Cup - when Germany's Thomas Müeller stumbled before stepping over the ball - was a rehearsed trick that went wrong.

Germany earned a free kick in the 88th minute of second-round match against Algeria on Monday. After a huddle, Bastian Schweinsteiger ran and stepped over the ball. Mueller followed, but stumbled, then got up and ran over the ball and behind the Algerian wall. Toni Kroos then tried to chip the ball to him, but it was low and easily cleared.

A smiling Müeller told German television, "It almost worked", and did not rule out trying it again.

Kroos told German television that the move had worked in training, "but it looks awful when it doesn't work".

Guts, goals win games - Deschamps


France coach Didier Deschamps has never lost a World Cup match and his experience tells him that winning Friday's quarter-final against Germany will come down to guts. Deschamps captained France to their only World Cup title in 1998 when the side was unbeaten and he was again captain two years later when they won the European Championship. His first World Cup campaign as coach is also proving fruitful, with France winning three and drawing one of their four games so far, although Les Bleus needed late goals to beat Nigeria 2-0 in Monday's second-round match and Germany will be favourites at the Maracana.

"Football ability is one thing, but it's your mentality and what you have in your stomach that allows you to turn a situation around and get a result," Deschamps said yesterday. "I hate [defeat] and I always will hate it. The players need to feel that way, and they do. It's not an exact science, but you need to dig deep inside of yourself, never give up and keep going."

De Jong's World Cup likely over


Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong's World Cup appears to be over after tests confirmed he has a tear in his groin muscle and will be sidelined for two-to-four weeks. The Dutch football association said yesterday that an MRI scan revealed the injury, almost certainly ruling one of the Dutch team's top performers out of the tournament.