Heavy favorites failed to dominate like heavy favorites on Day 19 of the 2014 World Cup.
France entered its match against Nigeria a 1-2 favorite, according to Odds Shark. While France exited the group stage with a plus-six goal differential, Nigeria was scored on just as much as it scored. Considering France had won two of its matches by three goals, a blowout on Monday would've shocked no one.
But it was far from a blowout.
The teams split time possession nearly right down the middle. France held the ball 53 percent of the match. Goalies Hugo Lloris of France and Vincent Enyeama of Nigeria combined for seven saves.
The goalies also had plenty of help, though. Phenomenal defense like this by Nigeria kept the match close.
At halftime, the score remained knotted at 0-0. Thirty-three minutes into the second half, nothing had changed.
Then 79 minutes in, a Paul Pogba header broke the tie, giving France a 1-0 lead.
Nigeria failed to respond.
It did score in extra time, but it was an own goal by defender Joseph Yobo, sealing Nigeria's fate in a 2-0 loss.
Germany entered its match against Algeria a 58-193 favorite, according to Odds Shark. But after annihilating Portugal 4-0 in its opening match, Germany hadn't looked nearly as dominant. It tied Ghana 1-1 and only defeated the United States 1-0.
Algeria, though, played its worst match first, losing to Belgium 2-1. It rebounded from there, going undefeated for the remainder of the group stage. Germany looked superior on paper, but it didn't have much more momentum than Algeria when it woke up on Day 19.
But Germany did play like a heavy favorite on Monday. It possessed the ball an overwhelming 67 percent of the match. And it attempted a whopping 14 shots on goal, compared to just four for Algeria.
Germany didn't score like a heavy favorite, though. At halftime, just like France vs. Nigeria, Germany and Algeria were tied 0-0. It remained intense.
Another half had finished and still the scoreboard sat at 0-0. Goalies Manuel Neuer of Germany and Rais M'Bolhi of Algeria couldn't have performed much better. They combined for 13 saves.
Just two minutes into the extra period, though, the shutout finally ended. Germany's Andre Schurrle scored the first goal of the match, putting Germany on top 1-0.
Which team will win?
It looked as if that's how the match would end. But 120 minutes in, Germany's Mesut Ozil padded the lead with a goal of his own. Then a minute later, Abdelmoumene Djabou finally put Nigeria on the board with a goal.
It was too little, way too late, though, and Germany held on for the 2-1 win. It will go on to face France in the next round. Algeria and Nigeria will watch.
Here's the updated bracket after Day 19's action.
|Sat., June 28||Brazil 1-1 (3-2 pen.) Chile||-||-|
|Sat., June 28||Colombia 2-0 Uruguay||-||-|
|Sun., June 29||Netherlands 2-1 Mexico||-||-|
|Sun., June 29||Costa Rica 1-1 (5-3) Greece||-||-|
|Mon., June 30||France 2-0 Nigeria||-||-|
|Mon., June 30||Germany 1-0 Algeria||-||-|
|Tues., July 1||Argentina vs. Switzerland||12 p.m.||ESPN|
|Tues., July 1||Belgium vs. United States||4 p.m.||ESPN|
|Fri., July 4||France vs. Germany||12 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Fri., July 4||Brazil vs. Colombia||4 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., July 5||Netherlands vs. Costa Rica||4 p.m.||ESPN|
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.