Algeria were handed a dream draw after their Group F heroics saw them progress as runners-up, taking on champions-elect Germany in Porto Alegre.
Though reaching the knockout stage was a first for the Algerians, Germany's place in the last 16 of a World Cup is more or less guaranteed every time the famous tournament comes around, and taking home the trophy is their real goal.
The three-time champions have always been efficient on the world stage, and 2014 looks to be no different as Joachim Low’s side once again have the belief that it could be their year.
Venue: Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
Date: Monday 30 June
Time: 9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET
TV Info: ITV1 (U.K.)/ESPN (U.S.)
Germany Still Looking to Improve
Two routine victories and a draw in Group G saw Germany progress as winners, but coach Low insists that there’s more to come from his talented side—per FIFA.com:
There's been lots of light, but also plenty of shadows; some good things, but also things which didn't work. We won our group, which was our primary objective, so we are happy, but we are also self-critical and we know that we can play better. We've not reached our limit yet, and now the knockout phase begins, the decisive games are here.
Though Low remains grounded on his nation’s World Cup dreams, the Germans have plenty of cause for optimism after safely navigating their way through the tricky-looking Group G.
The star of the Germany outfit so far has been Thomas Mueller, who has picked up from where he left off in World Cup 2010 with another clinical tournament—as OptaFranz revealed:
Mueller’s four goals put him second in the scoring charts behind only Colombia’s James Rodriguez, but he’ll be keen to take top spot back with a few goals against the Algerians.
However, if you thought that Germany had an easy ride to the quarter-finals then think again, as Algeria have proved that they’re a force to be reckoned with in Brazil.
After running Belgium close in their opening Group H match, Algeria thrashed South Korea before getting the all-important point that they needed against Russia to cross the line into the last 16.
Their attacking style of play has deservedly won admirers, and Gary Lineker is among those impressed with the African nation:
Algeria have been terrific. Quick, forceful, intelligent, compact and incisive.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2014
Though advancing past Germany will take some sort of minor miracle, it would be almost fitting in this World Cup that’s been full of surprises.
If they do find their way to victory, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Algerians have enjoyed a shock triumph over Germany, having beaten them in the group stage of the 1982 World Cup.
The current crop of Algerian stars, then, will look to their famous 1982 victory in Spain for inspiration, and while Germany went on the reach the final after their slip-up, there’ll be no second chances this time around.
However, the Germans are favourites for a reason and have the kind of quality in their squad that should be able to see off the Algerian challenge with minimal fuss.
With Mueller in form and the likes of Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Philipp Lahm all playing well, Germany’s remarkable run to the latter stages of World Cups looks set to continue.
Should they defeat the Algerians, they could be facing highly rated France in the quarter-finals, but such is Low’s tactical nous that Germany will be hot favourites for every clash in Brazil.
Though Algeria will put up a good fight in Porto Alegre, they’ll be no match for the Germans, whose freight train looks unstoppable once again.
Prediction: Germany 3-0 Algeria