Germany beat the USA 1-0 on Thursday to finish Group G unbeaten, ensuring their spot in the knockout stages along the way.
Die Mannschaft dominated a match played in the pouring rain from start to finish but had a hard time finishing their chances, with Thomas Muller scoring the match's only goal, a beautiful strike from outside the box.
Bleacher Report UK has the Vine:
It was Muller's fourth goal of the tournament, making him joint-top scorer alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar. Via WhoScored.com, the German's international scoring record is truly remarkable:
Thomas Müller: Has now scored 9 goals in 9 World Cup finals matches for Germany #ger— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 26, 2014
Squawka elaborated on those numbers:
Thomas Muller's World Cup record is now: 9 games, 9 goals, 4 assists. Outstanding. #GER— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 26, 2014
The Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter keps his remarks on Muller's fantastic goal relatively short:
Muller time— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) June 26, 2014
The Guardian's Barney Ronay couldn't figure out what the forward was doing that far from goal in the first place:
So... what was Muller doing over there anyway? RAUMDEUTERING— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) June 26, 2014
Add The Daily Mirror's Oliver Holt to the list of people impressed by the finish:
That is some finish from Thomas Muller— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) June 26, 2014
Gary Linneker couldn't help but compare the scoring records of Muller and Miroslav Klose to that of the entire English football team:
In the last 4 World Cups Müller and Klose have scored 24 between them. England have managed 17.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 26, 2014
Speaking of Klose, the veteran striker was brought on at half-time to give the German squad a more physical presence in the box. Needing one more goal to become the sole leader atop the tournament's all-time scoring rankings, he nearly set that mark after just a couple of minutes.
The cross wasn't perfect, however, and his header went just wide. Houston Dynamo's official Twitter feed couldn't help themselves:
That was Klose. (Sorry). #USA— HoustonDynamo (@HoustonDynamo) June 26, 2014
Via InfoStrada Live, Klose's appearance in the match brought him very close to the all-time record for World Cup appearances, a record he could still equal during the tournament:
CSN's Ray Ratto felt the need to calm down the American fans afraid Klose would make history in this match, and ultimately he was proven right:
Calm yourselves. Miroslav Klose is not Ray Allen. His appearance is not the same as an actual goal.— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) June 26, 2014
Grantland's Brian Phillips took one final dig at the striker, who wasn't able to score his record-setting goal in this fixture:
Klose: by far the most boring thing I'm absolutely terrified of.— Brian Phillips (@runofplay) June 26, 2014
Germany will face whichever team finishes second in Group H in the next round, with Belgium needing just one point to win that group. Russia, South Korea and Algeria are still in the running for the second ticket to the knockout stages, so Joachim Low and his team won't have their answer until Thursday evening.
Algeria look like slight favourites to advance, and their defensive prowess would test the German forwards tremendously in the next round.
But with Muller seemingly in the form of his life and Klose still acting as one of the top strikers in the world when coming off the bench, the Germans have to be favourites regardless of their opponents.
Perhaps the strongest European team remaining in the tournament, Die Mannschaft won't be satisfied with anything less than the actual World Cup trophy. Given the way they handled the group of death, few will bet against them.