Germany beat France in a penalty shootout after their thrilling Women’s World Cup quarter-final ended 1-1 after extra-time on Friday.
The Germans triumphed 5-4 in the shootout after Claire Levogez, chosen as the fifth kicker for France, saw her low shot saved by Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer.
Louisa Necib had put France ahead in the 64th minute but Germany equalised in the 84th when Celia Sasic converted a penalty after Amel Majri handled inside the box.
Germany will face the winners of Friday’s other quarter-final between the United States and China.
The clash between the top-ranked Germans and a French team placed third in the world was expected to be a memorable encounter and it more than lived up to the billing.
With the quality of the two teams it could easily have been the tournament final and the French will head home feeling they have missed out on a real chance to win their first World Cup.
"We are very disappointed because the objective was to be on the podium here. We weren’t able to take our opportunities,” said France coach Philippe Bergeroo.
They certainly looked like champions during a first half in which they dominated large sections of play, with some flowing attacking football that produced several good openings.
The best chance of the opening 45 minutes came almost straight from kick-off when Necib put wide from a glorious position at the back post.
Germany coach Silvia Neid made a key switch at the break bringing in Dsenifer Marozsan for Anja Mittag and the move paid off significantly.
Marozsan brought the German attack to life, forcing a good save out of Sarah Bouhaddi shortly after Sasic had tested her with a low drive.
But it was the French who grabbed the lead when Necib pounced on a poor clearance and her shot deflected off German defender Annike Krahn and curled into the corner.
France looked to be on their way into the last four but with six minutes of normal time remaining, Leonie Majer drove a cross into the box which struck Majri on the upper-arm and Sasic confidently slotted home her sixth goal of the tournament.
Both teams tired in extra-time and there were few chances created until three minutes from the end of the second period when Gaetane Thiney was found unmarked at the back-post but she somehow put the ball wide from close range.
The Germans scored all five of their spot-kicks before goalkeeper Angerer got down well to keep out Lavogez’s weak attempt.
“I think the team showed their character by the way they turned the switch in the second half,” said Germany coach Neid.