Germany needed patience in beating an organized US national team, but in the end, they got the job done.
They may not have put multiple goals on the board in their Group G finale against the US on Thursday, but Germany put in a efficient performance in a 1-0 win in rainy Recife off a second-half goal from Thomas Müller.
Germany, in prime position to advance to the Round of 16 coming into the game, made sure there was no doubt in picking up the win against an American team that ultimately advanced as well to the knockout stage, due to Portugal's win over Ghana in the other Group G game on Thursday.
Following the game, German players were satisfied with the performance and pleased with their improvement over the course of the group stage.
"It is important that we're through and that we've progressively gotten better," said Müller. "We did much better than the game against Ghana, especially against the defensive Americans. Overall, I'm very satisfied with the team today."
After Germany scored four goals in their opener against Portugal, the US went with a defense-first approach, hoping to hit the Europeans on counterattacks. But Germany held the ball well, keeping the US on the back foot throughout the match, with the best scoring chances for the Americans coming in second-half stoppage time.
"We were the team with more initiative from the start, had 2-3 good chances, then it wasn't so easy anymore," Müller explained. "The Americans dropped back so it was a game of patience. Overall we did well against a top fit American team.
"They only had some chances at the end, otherwise we did well and I'll take a 1-0."
"Nah, for me there are no outstanding questions," he said. "The tournament is finally getting underway now."