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QUICK PREVIEW: France vs. Nigeria / Germany vs. Algeria

TODAY’S GAMES

France vs. Nigeria—Noon (ESPN): The teams last me in aJune 2009 friendly in France where the Nigerians won 1-0. … France came back down to Earth a bit against Ecuador (0-0 tie) to close out group play,  but a large chunk of the lineup used that day were not the regular starters. Expect Karim Benzema to get back in the scoing column and the midfield by Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi to be too much for Nigeria. Defender Patrice Evra will be rested in front of goalie Hugo Lloris who has been solid. … Nigeria had looked solid defensively and lacking offensively heading into its final group game with Argentina, but Ahmed Musa looked great in that game with two nice goals. The defense will have to recover from being eaten up by a resurgent Argentine offense. Prediction: France 3-1.

Germany vs. Alergia—4 p.m. (ESPN): The teams last meet at the 1982 World Cup in Spain where the Algerians won 2-1 over West Germany. … The Germans enter the Round of 16 battle-tested. After rolling over Portugal in in their opener, they tied Ghana in one of the matches of the tournament so far, before edging the U.S. 1-0 in its group ginale to lock up first place. … The Algerians advanced thanks to a second-half goal from Islam Slimani that tied Russia. The defense did the rest. Ali’s go-for-it attitude has helped them to get where they are, but it can also hurt them as is evident from their five goals allowed. … Tournament co-top scorer Thoma Mueller, Sami Khedira and company will most likely help the Germans feast off the Algerian defense. Germany could be susceptible to Algeria’s quick counters, but goalie Manuel Neuer shouldn’t be tested. Prediction: Germany 4-1.

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