B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Germany and France in Focus

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2014

B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Germany and France in Focus

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    Bleacher Report's experts were keen not to rest on the laurels of their efforts of last season, so they will go into battle for the whole of the World Cup.

    Each game will feature a score prediction, combined with a Man of the Match selection (based on FIFA's official decision).

    The predictions are in the following slides, and you will be able to chart their success—or lack thereof—for the rest of the tournament on our daily scoreboard.

    Post your own picks on Twitter and include @br_uk. Anyone who gets all scorelines and the Man of the Match awards correct will receive a Bleacher Report goody bag.

France vs. Nigeria

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    Alex Dimond: France 2-0 Nigeria

    France were one of the most impressive sides in the group stages, whereas Nigeria looked limited and were arguably lucky to make it to this stage. Stranger things have happened, but France's attacking threat should win out in this one.

    Man of the Match: Karim Benzema

    It's the obvious choice, isn't it? Benzema has been one of the players of the tournament so far, and he could well get on the scoresheet once more against a defence that is far from the best.

    Karl Matchett: France 4-0 Nigeria

    France are the team to beat right now. Their collective offensive movement and threat makes them a more difficult opponent than the individual qualities each attacker brings. Vincent Enyeama aside, Nigeria’s defence hasn’t been great, and they’ll struggle to contain such rotation in the final third.

    Man of the Match: Antoine Griezmann

    Griezmann to come back into the side and use his pace and intelligence to nab an important goal or two.

    Michael Cummings: France 3-1 Nigeria

    At times, France have attacked with breathtaking ease. That wasn't the case against Ecuador in their group finale, but of course Les Bleus were all but through to the next round by that point. So will we see the team that tore through Switzerland? And in that case, will that team also allow a sloppy, late goal? It seems at least possible.

    Man of the Match: Mathieu Valbuena

    Karim Benzema is getting all the plaudits, and rightfully so, but Valbuena pulls the strings. Look for that to continue against Algeria.

    Sam Tighe: France 2-0 Nigeria

    Nigeria did well to emerge from Group F in second place at the expense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but their fairy-tale journey ends here. Didier Deschamps will unleash his attacking hounds, and if Godfrey Oboabona isn't fit, it could get ugly.

    Man of the Match: Karim Benzema

    The man is on fire, and only a spectacular goalkeeping display from Ecuador's Alexander Dominguez prevented him from netting for the third successive game.

    Will Tidey: France 3-1 Nigeria

    Nigeria aren't good enough to really trouble France, in my opinion. I see the French cruising here, with a couple of early goals taking the sting out of this one early.

    Man of the Match: Paul Pogba

    Pogba to arrive on the biggest stage with a screamer and an assist.

Germany vs. Algeria

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    Alex Dimond: Germany 2-1 Algeria

    There may be talk about Algeria aiming for revenge for the 1982 "Anschluss of Gijon," but they should be fired up for this game regardless. They have shown a real attacking threat so far in Brazil, but Germany's all-round strength and tactical fluidity should be enough for them to win out in the end.

    Man of the Match: Mesut Ozil

    Ozil has looked controlled and incisive so far for Germany; if this game threatens to get frantic, his patience and guile could prove decisive for his side.

    Karl Matchett: Germany 3-1 Algeria

    Algeria did extremely well to negotiate the group stage, but you can’t help feeling that all the talk of revenge for ’82 is simply going to set them up for a massive fall. They can get at Germany no problem with their power in attack and aerial threat, but if they try to take the game to Germany too much, they’ll be torn open on the counter.

    Man of the Match: Thomas Mueller

    Mueller to show the value in on-the-ball intelligence, finding the right passes and adding to his scoring tally.

    Michael Cummings: Germany 3-2 Algeria

    We know Germany can attack, but can they defend for 90 minutes against a surprisingly dangerous Algerian side? It seems a step too far to say Germany might lose this one, but it might be harder than some think.

    Man of the Match: Thomas Mueller

    Mueller finds space brilliantly and is lethal in front of goal. He's making a strong charge to win another Golden Boot.

    Sam Tighe: Germany 3-0 Algeria

    Algeria have been a fine watch in the competition so far, but the round of 16 is as far as they will go. They have the width and pace to trouble Germany, but Thomas Mueller and Co. will have too much for them.

    Man of the Match: Mario Goetze

    Fresh from a rest in the third game, Goetze should come out firing on all cylinders. He and Mesut Ozil are both wonderfully creative, but the Bayern Munich man is the one who'll score the goals.

    Will Tidey: Germany 3-0 Algeria

    It won't be as easy as the scoreline suggests, with Algeria keeping things tight for most of the contest, but Germany will pull away with a couple of goals in the last 10 minutes to give them breathing space.

    Man of the Match: Thomas Mueller

    I like that man Mueller again. Why bet against him?

Updated Standings

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    B/R Expert Picks

    (One point for correct result, three points for correct scoreline, two points for correct Man of the Match.)

    Sam Tighe81
    Michael Cummings72
    Will Tidey66
    Karl Matchett63
    Alex Dimond52