Loew on a high as Germany advance
Joachim Loew admitted Germany had set an impressive record after a straightforward 1-0 win over France secured a fourth consecutive World Cup semi-final.
Germany, who have also reached the last four of the previous two European Championships, strolled through thanks to Mats Hummels' 12th-minute header at the Maracana.
Loew, the Germany coach since 2006, told a news conference afterwards: "It's quite a record - our president told me we have won 28 out of 31 official matches so that's quite a performance.
"This team has intrinsic qualities, is solid and stable and since 2010 we have taken on board new players like Mats Hummels, we have invested a lot."
Loew believes their Latin American opponents - Brazil or Colombia - will start with an advantage in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte however.
He added: "They will have a home advantage, you can't deny that. The South Americans are fighting for their lives here."
Loew revealed that he had spoken to Per Mertesacker on Friday night to explain why he was being dropped to allow for Hummels' inclusion - the Arsenal defender has long been a stalwart member of his teams.
He said: "Per is very important player for us and I spoke to him last night and explained, and he had a marvellous attitude and said 'I just want to help the team'.
"I chose Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels for tactical reasons - we had seen France's players Valbuena and Griezmann attack with great speed and I thought I would be able to solve that problem."
France manager Didier Deschamps insisted there was not much to choose between the teams but their rivals' extra experience had made the difference.
He said: "They are used to playing big matches and have a more experienced team.
"We were a bit timid in the beginning but had some good moves and chances but we were not able to finish, while (Germany goalkeeper) Manuel Neuer had a good match as well.
"The players are a bit frustrated as there was not a massive gap but the adventure stops here.
"I am quite proud of what we have achieved so far. I'm hurt and disappointed but there are a lot of positive things happening with this team.
"Everybody was sad, disappointed and frustrated, I can't get that away from them because I feel the same way, but there was not a huge gap between the teams."
Hummels said the "next dream has become reality" after the Borussia Dortmund player was voted man of the match, with his goal adding to a determined defensive display.
He said: "This is the next dream to have become reality and the next positive moment here in Brazil, and I hope it's not the last either.
"I hope it's not over now and that we can manage to win again in five days' time."