France and Germany both progress to the Quarter Finals
by Nick D
Jun 30, 2014 6:40 PM EDT
France faced off with Nigeria in their Round of 16 clash and the flying Frenchmen would continue their World Cup defeating the Africans 2-0. A late strike by Pogba and an unfortunate own goal in injury time were enough to send the Nigerians home and France into the Quarter Finals.
France into the Quarter Finals after a tough game against Nigeria
The Nigerians just made it through their Group stage after Iran failed to get a result in their final game. The French on the other hand dominated their group and were definitely a force to be reckoned with. The first half saw end to end action as both teams looked to catch the other on the break. Nigeria played well in the first half as they countered with a lot of pace and almost caught the French napping on a few occasions. The possession was split between the two sides as they both looked for a way to open the scoring. Chances were limited for both sides as neither found a way to have clear shot. Pogba would have the first strike on target in the 20th minute as France caught Nigeria on the counter. As the cross came in from the right side, Pogba took it in his stride but the keeper was well positioned to make the reaction save. The half would end and france did look the more threatening but at 0-0 Nigeria still in with a chance.
Nigeria with a strong defensive stand in the first half as the teams were deadlocked at 0-0
The second half saw France push forward and try to breakdown the Nigerians. It took till the 79th minute for France to finally get the breakthrough and take the lead. A free kick was awarded on the right side and Benzema thought he had the goal as he headed Valbuena's cross. The keeper though did brilliantly to get a hand to it and see it over the crossbar for the corner kick. Valbuena would whip in the corner from the left side towards the 6 yard box. The keeper came out and unfortunately for him he didn't get a strong touch on the ball. Pogba was well positioned at the back post and as the ball floated to him he would head home over the defenders standing on the line. Then in the dying minutes as Nigeria tried to push for the equaliser they would get caught on the counter and as Valbuena cut the ball across the face of the goal, Yobo would get an unfortuante touch and guide the ball into his own net. 2-0 and France set to face Germany in the Quarter finals.
Pogba would lead France to the Quarter finals with his late goal
Germany also advanced to the next stage as they were pushed all the way to extra time by Algeria to win 2-1. The Germans were just too strong in the end as they managed to score deep in injury time to end the Northern African sides historic World Cup run.
Germany are through after Algeria pushed them all the way into extra time
Germany started the match slowly and weren't as free flowing when in attack mode. The Algerians started off quite well and even though Germany had most of the possession, the first good chances would fall to the Algerians. Feghouli would squander a very good chance after he cut into the box down the right side and managed to get past two defenders. Then instead of just cutting the ball across the goal face he tried to curl a cross in and the ball didn't find Slimani cutting in to the back post. Then Algeria almost caught Germany unawares as they countered with pace and then after all the hard work to get forward, Slimani's shot was cut wide of the mark and didn't even force the keeper into a save. Germany's first chance didn't come till almost 20 minutes into the match, as Ozil tried to cleverly chip the keeper from the top of the box. The keeper tracked back well and tipped it over the bar. The resulting corner would see Muller finally get involved but his header from the centre if the box missed the target by some distance. Germany's best chance came late in the half as Kroos fired in a low driven shot from about 25 yards out. The keeper did well to block the shot but it was his second save that he made as Lahm's follow up shot from inside the box, was even more impressive. The first half would come to an end and Germany had almost 70% of the possession but the score was still level and the Algerians still in with a chance.
Slimani was Algeria's biggest threat as he troubled the German defensive line in the first half
The second half and the Germans came out strong. Schurrle was brought on for Gotze to add more pace to the German's attack. The change had an immediate effect as the Germans started pressuring the Algerians deep into their own half. A n early corner saw Mustafi rise well but his header was directed straight at the keeper. Lahm was next to try his luck from the top of the box. His curling shot looked destined to hit the top left corner, but once again the keeper dove well and got his fingertips onto it and steered it wide of the mark. The Germans pressed on and the Algerians were playing with fire by dropping too deep in front of their own goal. The Algerians held on as the minutes ticked over. Germany then suffered a major blow as Mustafi was forced to be subbed off due to a hamstring injury and Khedira was brought on, though he too had questions in regards to his fitness level. The scoreline still read 0-0 as we entered the 75th minute as the game was still there for the taking and Algeria still in with a great chance. Slimani would have their best chance of the half as he drilled a low strike from distance but it was well held by the keeper. A late charge by the Germans saw Muller's header denied once again by the keeper, and the defender was there on the line to clear Schurrle's follow up shot. Mueller then had another chance but as he took a touch past the defender his shot with the outside of the boot went the wrong side of the post. The ref finally blew the whistle and extra time approached.
Muller had some great chances in the final 10 minutes but Algeria held on as the game entered extra time
Germany didn't waste anytime as the the extra period kicked off and finally broke through the Algerian defence within minutes of the kick off. Muller made a strong run into the box down the left side. He outmuscled the defender and then cut the ball low towards the near post. Schurrle made the run and then cleverly managed to get a back heel onto the ball and guide it into the back of the net. 1-0 for germany and the Algerians saw all their hard work in the 90 minutes go down the drain. Then in the dying minutes of extra time Ozil and Schurrle would get into the box and after some last ditch defending by the Algerians, Ozil would thump the ball into the back of the net from close range. Germany would hold onto that lead and even a late surge by the Algerians as they got a goal back in the 120th minute was not enough, as their World Cup run would come to an end.
Schurrle was the hero for Germany as he won the match with his extra time goal