France have reached the World Cup quarter-finals after downing Nigeria 2-0 in Brasília on Monday.
After a relatively slow start to the game, Didier Deschamps’ men stepped it up a gear in the second half with Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama producing a man of the match performance to deny les Bleus two goal scoring opportunities.
With only ten minutes to go before the final whistle, Paul Pogba opened the scoring with a clever finish before Joseph Yobo turned the ball into his own net, gifting France a convincing win.
Germany also progressed after edging out a resilient Algeria side 2-1 in Porto Alegre.
The game finished goalless after 90 minutes with Die Mannschaft dictating play but unable to break the deadlock. Substitute Andre Schurrle eventually found the back of the net in extra-time following good work down the left from Thomas Muller.
Mezut Ozil added a second in the 120th minute to seal the win with Abdelmoumene Djabou netting in the dying moments to salvage some pride.Two places up for grabs
After tonight’s fixtures, we will know the names of all the teams who have made it through to the quarter-finals of FIFA’s flagship event. Argentina will take on Switzerland before Belgium and the United States battle it out in what should be a tight affair in Salvador.
Having relied on former Ballon D’or Lionel Messi for most of their goals so far at this World Cup, Argentina fans will be hoping the rest of the squad can step it up a gear when they take on Switzerland in São Paulo.
Paris Saint Germain winger Ezequiel Lavezzi is set to replace the injured Sergio Aguero while Switzerland boss Ottmar Hitzfeld has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game and is likely to stick with the same team who beat Honduras 3-0 in their final group fixture.
This will be the seventh international meeting between the two sides, with Argentina remaining unbeaten till now.
The winner will face either Belgium or the United States in Brasilia on July 5 with Eden Hazard’s team-mate bidding to reach their first quarter-final since 1986.
The Red Devils are looking particularly vulnerable at the back, with Vincent Kompany struggling with a groin problem and Thomas Vermaelen yet to recover from a hamstring strain.
United States forward Jozy Altidore, who has missed the majority of the tournament after suffering a hamstring injury against Ghana in the opening match, is available and could come on as a substitute if
Jurgen Klinsmann’s men find themselves behind late in the game.
This will be the first time these two sides meet in the World Cup since the very first tournament in 1930.
Heroes and Villains
A national team returning home from a World Cup defeat can often face the wrath of angry fans. In other cases and depending on the courage the players displayed on the pitch, an early exit may also prompt celebrations.
The South Korean team returned home on Sunday after finishing bottom of their group in one of their poorest showings in over a decade.
Hong Myung-bo’s men looked defeated as they arrived at an airport near Seoul, where angry fans threw handfuls of sweets at them, which is considered an insult in the country.
It was a completely different story in Santiago where Chile’s so nearly conquering heroes received an incredible welcome on their return.
Thousands of fans waving Chilean flags screamed and shouted their respect and love for the team who eliminated champions Spain but were cruelly knocked out by Brazil for the fourth time in their history.