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World Cup Daily Recap: Germany and France hold off upset bids, move to quarters

Another day, another couple of crazy matches at the World Cup.

Here’s how Day 18 shook out:

France 2-0 Nigeria | Full Recap

Don’t be fooled by the final score – this was a close one.

Nigeria and France were very even for the first 75 minutes, with Les Bleus and the Super Eagles both creating their fair share of chances. In fact, it looked like Nigeria had taken the lead in the 19th minute, when Emmanuel Emenike slotted home a fantastic cross from Ahmed Musa. Unfortunately for the African nation, Emenike was just offside and the goal was called back.

France flipped a switch with about 15 minutes left in regulation, pinning Nigeria deep and putting a ton of pressure on Vincent Enyeama’s goal. The French nearly went ahead in the 77th minute, when midfielder Yohan Cabaye smashed a volley from 20 yards off the crossbar.

Midfielder Paul Pogba did manage to put Les Bleus on top just a minute later, taking advantage of a failed punch by Enyeama on a corner kick to head home into an empty net.

France remained on the front foot after Pogba’s opener, eventually killing the game off when Joseph Yobo put one into his own net in the 91st minute. The French now move onto the quarterfinals, where they’ll take on Germany in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

Germany 2-1 (a.e.t) Algeria

Algeria gave Germany all that it could handle, repeatedly testing German ‘keeper Manuel Neuer and getting a standout performance from goalie Rais M’bolhi to force extra time after a scoreless first 90 minutes.

Unfortunately for the underdog Desert Foxes, Germany broke through quickly in the first period of extra time, with forward Andre Schurrle scoring in the 92nd minute to give the European powerhouse a 1-0 lead. Algeria pressed forward desperately after conceding, leaving themselves open at the back for German counterattacks. Mesut Ozil took advantage of that space in the 119th minute, collecting a Thomas Muller rebound and slamming a left-footed shot home to give the Germans a 2-0 lead.

It looked like it was all over, but Algeria made things at least a little interesting in the 121st minute, when Abdelmoumene Djabou slammed home a Sofiane Feghouli cross to cut the lead in half. But the goal was too little, too late for the Algerians, who will undoubtedly return home with heads held high after qualifying for the Round of 16 for the first time in their country’s history.

Germany will resume tournament play on Friday, when they’ll take on France in a classic quarterfinal matchup in Rio de Janeiro.