Many call the 2014 World Cup the most entertaining in history, and the epic tournament in Brazil is highlighted by the epic race for the Golden Boot, which shattered records on Day 19 as the knockout stages continued.
The first match saw France and Nigeria dance, with one goal late in the proceedings enough to push this year's tournament past the 2010 iteration in terms of scoring—with 11 matches to go. FIFAWorldCup provides the details:
No matter which country fans around the globe support, the goal-happy proceedings have transformed each match into must-see action as the record books are not just thrown out—but torched with a flamethrower.
The race for the Golden Boot is on, with several new faces throwing their names into the ring on Monday. Here's the updated outlook.
Day 19 Fixtures
|Team 1||Result||Team 2|
Golden Boot Watch
|Robin van Persie||Netherlands||3|
|Clint Dempsey||United States||2|
|Wilfried Bony||Ivory Coast||2|
|Bryan Ruiz||Costa Rica||2|
|Avdija Vrsajevic||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1|
|Lee Keun-Ho||South Korea||1|
|Joel Campbell||Costa Rica||1|
|Oscar Duarte||Costa Rica||1|
|Marcos Urena||Costa Rica||1|
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||1|
|Vedad Ibisevic||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1|
|John Anthony Brooks||United States||1|
|Edin Dzeko||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1|
|Miralem Pjanic||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1|
|Son Heung Min||South Korea||1|
|Koo Jacheol||South Korea||1|
|Jermaine Jones||United States||1|
|Giovani dos Santos||Mexico||1|
Monday Scorers Highlighted
Joesph Yobo—making his 100th appearance for the Nigerian national team—had his work cut out for him on Monday against France, a side that entered the knockout game having scored seven goals in three prior matches.
From early on it was easy to see Yobo's side would be tested consistently in the sweltering heat, as FOX Soccer Trax helps to point out:
4: Early chance from France as they sweep down, forcing NGA to concede a corner. Left side already looks a problem for them. 0-0— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) June 30, 2014
Nigeria's chance at keeping pace took a major hit at the 15-minute mark after an injury to Ogenyi Onazi saw him stretchered off the pitch (he would later return, only to be stretchered off yet again in the second half).
Shortly thereafter, Emmanuel Emenike uplifted his side and threw his name into the Golden Boot conversation with a goal—a happy turn of events that quickly turned sour after he was ruled offside, as World Soccer Talk captures:
Out of the gate in the second half, both managers elected not to make any changes to the lineup, although this was a strategy France quickly changed as the entertaining scoreless bout continued, as noted by Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe:
Benzema to No. 9, Griezmann left, Valbuena right. Hoping for better flow and better manipulation of space from #FRA— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) June 30, 2014
It proved effective right away:
France threatened a few times after that before Paul Pogba saw a header through to put his side up after 79 minutes, entering the Golden Boot fray in the process. ESPN captured the moment:
But as the final score indicated, France were far from done despite obtaining the late lead.
Well, sort of—France applied the pressure, but it was Yobo in his 100th appearance for Nigeria who extended the deficit with an own goal, as captured by World Cup 2014:
VINE: Yobo puts into his own net after pressure from Antoine Griezmann http://t.co/al0TT578LO— World Cup 2014 (@PostWorldCup) June 30, 2014
For Nigeria, the defeat caps off a performance the side should be very proud of, although it was apparent right away Les Bleus were destined to break through at some point.
That point came late, but better late than never as France move on to the next round and will face the winner of Germany-Algeria.
Regardless of the opponent, it will prove to be a momentous occasion for France, as it is the country's first quarterfinals appearance since 2006.
It took more than 90 minutes, but Germany were able to finally pull away from Algeria in the second match of the day in what unexpectedly turned out to be an extra-time classic. Germany held the ball for 67 minutes and took 14 shots on goal to four for Algeria, but the underdogs withstood the pressure for most of the contest.
Like the match before it, there were signs that the underdog would have plenty of bite. Early on, Algeria scored—while offside:
Disjointed was the best way to describe the German back end, although Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos were able to flirt with adding to their Golden Boot pursuits near the half. Much of the credit for Algeria's performance goes to netminder Rais M'Bohli, who put on a world-class showing until the bitter end.
The perfect example came around the 80-minute mark, as he was forced to fend off a perfect header from the German side:
That said, it didn't take Germany very long in extra time to break free. Andre Schurrle got his name in the competition for the Golden Boot with this, well, boot, as captured by Squawka Football::
The advantage held until the second half of extra time, when Mesut Özil made it 2-0 via his first goal of the proceedings in Brazil, as World Cup 2014 brings to life:
VINE: Goal by Özil http://t.co/YyXjyEkhJS— World Cup 2014 (@PostWorldCup) June 30, 2014
Abdelmoumene Djabou would ring home his second goal of the World Cup moments later, but by then the final was already in hand in the final embers of the match. As a result, he jumps those with a single mark in the goal column, but will watch from home as France and Germany dance in the next round.