If the first four matches of the 2014 World Cup's knockout stages were any indication of what's to come, we may be in for the ride of our lives.
Already, we've seen two matches come down to penalty kicks and anther settled in the waning minutes of regulation.
In the aftermath, Brazil, Colombia, the Netherlands and Costa Rica have all secured positions in the quarterfinals. So, who will be next?
The round of 16 continues on Day 19, as France takes on Nigeria and Germany squares off against Algeria. Before these highly anticipated contests get underway, let's take a look at the updated bracket and match odds, followed by predictions for how each is likely to unfold.
The full bracket can be viewed at FIFA.com.
Day 19 Fixtures
|World Cup Day 18 Schedule, Odds and Predictions|
|12 p.m.||France vs. Nigeria||France 7-15, Nigeria 15-2, Draw 7-2||France, 2-1|
|4 p.m.||Germany vs. Algeria||Germany 1-3, Algeria 12-1, Draw 5-1||Germany, 3-1|
|Odds via OddsChecker/Sean O'Donnell's Predictions|
France vs. Nigeria
One thing is certain for Monday's first contest: Neither of these teams will be cautious, sitting back an defending.
Nigeria boasts a powerful unit up front, with the lightning-quick Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses along with a highly intelligent and experienced Peter Odemwingie. Although, the downfall of this offense has been its inability to pass for better shots on goal. The Super Eagles can't afford to keep up that trend against the French.
This tweet from Fox Soccer Trax pretty much sums up how many Nigerian attacks have ended up:
For France, it will attempt to keep up its pace from the group stage, where les Bleus scored eight goals while allowing just two. The French have been getting production from all over the place from an offense led by the impressive Karim Benzema.
Not only can Benzema score, but he has some nifty moves as well:
The Super Eagles will prove to be formidable opponents to the French, as their counterattacking style of play matches up well against the playing style of the French.
Although, over the group stage, France has simply looked collectively better as a team. Consistency up front by Benzema and Co. and great play on the defensive end—especially the play in goal from Hugo Lloris—will earn les Bleus a victory once more.
Germany vs. Algeria
What more can be said about the Germans that hasn't already? This country simply continues to be a world football juggernaut.
During the group stage, Germany absolutely steamrolled Portugal by a score of 4-0 in its opener. The electrifying Thomas Mueller led the way, scoring three goals in the match. After a disappointing 2-2 draw against Ghana, Mueller was back at it, scoring the goal to defeat the United States 1-0 in Germany's third contest.
Here's a look at Mueller's strike against the United States, courtesy of Bleacher Report UK:
It's been a rather inconsistent World Cup for Algeria.
The team played rather well in its first contest against a superior Belgium squad, losing by a score of 2-1. Algeria went on a scoring frenzy in its second match, defeating South Korea 4-2 before finishing off the group stage with a 1-1 draw against Russia.
Still, Algeria's efforts put it through to the knockout stages for the first time in four attempts, according to Fox Sports News:
Algeria will likely attempt to play with 10 men behind the ball at all times against Germany. This will be a team to sit back and defend while looking for opportune times for a counterattack.
While this scheme plays to Algeria's strengths, Germany's mobile attack will simply be too much to handle. This will put an end to Algeria's Cinderella run in this year's World Cup.
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