bravery of Nigeria and Algeria
So – it’s France and Germany who go through to the quarter finals at the expense of Nigeria and Algeria … and so far we have three European sides, two from South America and one from Central American through to to the final eight.
But there’s no disputing the quality we’ve seen from the African nations at World Cup 2014.
The truth is Nigeria had the better of the first half against France. But when we got down to the business end of this contest the 1998 World Champions had an extra gear.
Yahan Cabaye hit the bar . . . and then in the 79th minute Paul Pogba finally headed home to break the deadlock.
Griezmann‘s movement deep into injury time saw Joseph Yobo deflect the ball into his own net . . .
And that made the winning margin 2-nil for Didier Deschamps’ men, who have a growing belief that this could be their year.
With Valbueana, Benzema, Pogba, Cabaye and Griezmann all clicking into gear this French side will take some stopping.
But next up it’s the Germans, who needed all their guile and experience to get past Algeria. Once again the African side dominated the Europeans in the first half – and they matched the Germans throughout.
But it was extra time before the deadlock in a pulsating match was broken by André Schürrle – with a touch of genius.
This was a match denied more goals by quality goalkeeping and agonising misses at both ends until Mesut Özil made it 2-0 one minute from the end of extra time. Then Abdelmoumene Djabou set up a frantic final 60 seconds when he gave Algeria a goal they thoroughly deserved in injury time. But the Germans always reach the quarter-finals –and they’ve done it again!
In the last three tournaments they’ve reached ONE final and TWO semi-finals and the last time they failed to reach the final four was 1998 – the year their next opponents FRANCE won the World Cup
Meantime, we’ve already seen more goals scored in Brazil than the whole of the last world cup in South Africa. And we’ve still got nine matches left in this tournament. But it’s not just the number of goals being scored, it’s all about the quality of the football – and so far that really has been pretty special.