“We didn’t get into our rhythm in the first half and lost a lot of balls."
France advanced to the last eight of the FIFA World Cup 2014 after Paul Pogba and an own goal gave them a 2-0 win against Nigeria on 30 June, 2014.
Germany also qualified after defeating Algeria 2-1 in extra-time with goals from Andre Schurrle and Mesut Ozil.
Angel di Maria scored the winning goal in the 118th minute for Argentina as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku scored in extra-time as Belgium defeated USA 2-1 in their round 16 clash on 01 July 2014.
Nigeria 0 France 2 — 5pm (BST) KO, Estadio Nacional, Brasilia — Monday
France earned a hard fought 2-0 victory against Nigeria in Brasilia.
During the opening exchanges, France looked strong going forward. However, they’re defending was scrappy and they were let off when Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike had a goal disallowed for offside.
Following a strong second half-performance from the Nigerians, it was France who came close when Karim Benzema’s effort was dramatically cleared off the line.
French midfielder, Yohan Cabaye then smashed the bar with an effort from twenty yards.
French dominance continued as Nigeria’s resistance was finally broken. Despite the heroics of Nigerian goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, Pogba headed France in the lead. An injury-time own goal from Joseph Yobo sealed it for Les Bleus.
Pogba was elated with his performance as he said: “To score a goal for your country, especially in such an important game as this, to get into the last eight of the World Cup is one of the best moments of my life.”
Germany 2 Algeria 1 — 9pm AET (BST) KO, Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre – Monday
Extra-time goals from Andre Schurrle and Mesut Ozil were enough as Germany survived a scare from Algeria to reach the quarter-finals.
Algeria’s intensity made Germany look vulnerable early on. German goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer was terrific throughout the game as the Algerians created quite a few problems for their European opponents.
Despite a messy start, Joachim Low’s men began to play themselves into the game. Muller had two excellent chances to win the game as the Algerians were defiant in defence.
The Algerians threatened for 120 minutes, but Schurrle’s skilful back-heel and Ozil’s late strike resigned them to defeat.
A consolation goal gave Algeria a glimmer of hope with a minute left, but it was not meant to be their night. It was an excellent performance in what has been a memorable World Cup for the African side.
Germany will have to improve in order to progress as Low suggested:
“We didn’t get into our rhythm in the first half and lost a lot of balls. Algeria frequently evaded our pressing game by playing long balls and they did it well because we looked very vulnerable.”
Argentina 1 Switzerland 0 AET — 5pm (BST) KO, Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo — Tuesday
Angel di Maria scored in extra-time to send Argentina into the quarter-finals.
The Argentinian side were confident coming into the game, having never lost to the Swiss team. Despite this record, it was Switzerland who had the better of the chances and should have been ahead after a lacklustre first half.
Argentina who have the highest possession rate in the tournament, looked much more energised after half-time. The Swiss were tiring as Lionel Messi upped the tempo.
However, not even the little maestro could break the Swiss organisation as extra-time beckoned.
Radio presenter, Noreen Khan unimpressed with the Argentinian side tweeted: “I will continue to support the underdogs so come on Switzerland!!!”
Only in the last few minutes of extra-time did the game come alive. After a gliding run, Messi slid the ball into Angel di Maria, who slotted home the winner.
Blerim Dzemaili agonisingly hit the post with a header in the dying moments as the game ended in a heartbreak for Switzerland.
Belgium 2 USA 1 AET — 9pm (BST) KO, Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador — Tuesday
Belgium defeated USA to reach the quarter-finals after an electrifying extra-time display from both sides.
The first half flew by as both teams looked to grab the initiative. Belgium’s extra quality was starting to show as the half progressed. The USA created a number of chances, yet lacked the final product.
Belgium increased the pressure on the Americans in the second half as Divock Origi headed against the bar and Jan Vertonghen forced Tim Howard into a great save.
The majority of chances fell to Belgium, but as USA battled tirelessly, the game went into extra-time.
The introduction of Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku proved too tricky for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side. The Chelsea man first set up Kevin de Bruyne to finish smartly, before adding a powerful finish of his own.
Julian Green grabbed a goal back with a beautiful finish in the 107th minute. With twelve minutes to go, USA had plenty of chances to equalise, but failed to score.
It was truly a magnificent effort from both sides. It’s a shame that there had to be a loser on the night.
Elsewhere, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez finally apologised to Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini for biting him.
Meanwhile the Cameroon FA is to investigate claims that seven of their players were allegedly involved in match fixing at the FIFA World Cup 2014.
With the last of the quarter-finals decided, France will take on Germany on 04 July 2014, whilst Argentina will face Belgium on 05 July 2014. Let the samba party continue.