Thursday - Jun 22, 2017

World Cup Round Up: Monday: France and Germany grind their way into the World Cup quarter-finals


World Cup Round Up: Monday: France and Germany grind their way into the World Cup quarter-finals

Two of the 2014 World Cup’s strongest and most fancied teams have their work cut out to overcome the last two remaining African teams in the competition to make it through to the quarter-finals and an enticing European derby on Saturday evening.

In the first match of the evening in Brasilia France struggled to break down a stubborn Nigerian side who held out until the 79th minute until the powerful French midfielder Paul Pogba was on the spot to head home after the Nigerian goalkeeper Enyeama fumbled a corner. After that there was no way back for the Nigerians and their World Cup campaign and ended in even more discomfort when central defender Joseph Yobo diverted a cross from Mathieu Valbuena cross into his own net.

Ultimately the final scoreline did not really reflect the pace of the game which saw the Super Eagles almost taking the lead several times in the second half. However, at the end of normal time approached their players began to visibly tire, and the French showed their professionalism by taking advantage.

Ultimately, Nigerians can be proud of their performance throughout the tournament which saw the emergence of 21-year-old Ahmed Musa as a player with a dazzling future.

France, who have been known to struggle in the early stages of the World Cup in the past, came out of the group stage is looking strong, and look confident to go far in this year’s competition also, with Benzema and Pogba gaining in stature and confidence as the tournament progresses.

The match played later in the day Germany were forced into extra time to eventually overcome underdogs Algeria.

The triple world champions looked a shadow of the side which demolished World Champions Spain in the first match of the tournament during the first 90 minutes and even looked like they might let this match slip away from them as an enterprising Algeria push them back into defensive mode, with Thomas Muller looking particularly jaded.

As the final whistle for normal time began to approach, the Algerians also began to show the effects of a hard fought match and were lucky to make it into extra time.

However, with just three minutes of extra time played, Andre Schurrle finally made a breakthrough for the Germans tapping in from close range, and making the possibility of a penalty kick shootout even more unlikely.

At the 119th minute of the match Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil doubled Germany’s lead, which was immediately countered by the first volley from Abdelmoumene Djabou. For just a moment or two there were cheers began to believe that they could grab an equalizer, but the German defense still had enough in reserve to hold on to the final whistle.

While it was an efficient performance Joachim Low’s men will have their work cut out to get past the French in Rio on Saturday.

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