Germany on Verge of Record 4th Straight World Cup Semifinal

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Germany on Verge of Record 4th Straight World Cup Semifinal
Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

With a victory over France in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, Germany will become the first country to reach four consecutive World Cup semifinals, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The current streak of three straight "final four" appearances dates back to the 2002 World Cup, which took place in South Korea and Japan. Exceptional performances in the early going resulted in Germany finishing the group stage with the best goal differential of any country at plus-10.

Die Mannschaft ultimately advanced to the final match but lost 2-0 to Brazil. Nonetheless, German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn earned the Golden Ball award, marking the first time a goalie was named the World Cup's best player.

Germany played host to the next World Cup and won all three games in pool play to claim Group A. In fact, by winning their opening match against Costa Rica, 4-2, Germany played in the highest scoring game to begin a World Cup.

Under former national team star and previous manager Jurgen Klinsmann, the 2006 German squad blended experienced internationals like captain Michael Ballack and striker Miroslav Klose with an exciting new generation including Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski.

While the Germans easily dispatched Sweden in the round of 16, they needed penalty kicks to fend off Argentina in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, eventual champions Italy crushed the host country's title dreams by scoring both goals of their 2-0 triumph in extra time of the semifinals.

To their credit, Klinsmann's camp bounced back to take the third-place game, 3-1, over Portugal. In addition, with five goals, Klose picked up the Golden Boot award for the World Cup's leading scorer.

During their last World Cup, Germany topped Group D at South Africa in 2010. The placement set the stage for Germany to thump England, 4-1, in their first knockout match and then take out the Argentines yet again with a 4-0 rout in the quarterfinals.

However, as in 2006, Germany once again fell victim to facing the eventual champions in the semifinals, as Spain beat them 1-0 en route to ultimate glory. Despite falling short, new manager Joachim Low led his team to another third-place conclusion by defeating Uruguay, 3-2. Similar to 2006, German midfielder Thomas Muller claimed the Golden Boot with five goals and three assists.

Still at the helm, Low coached Germany to a first-place finish in Group G at this summer's World Cup. Although they required extra time to oust a feisty Algeria squad, 2-1, in the round of 16, they have now advanced to the quarterfinals in an amazing 16 straight World Cups.

With that in mind, Germany's World Cup excursions have traditionally started at this stage. Amid heightened expectations, Germany now has the opportunity to make World Cup history by winning over France, although a fourth straight semifinal appearance is hardly their primary goal.

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