World Cup games Monday: France faces powerful Nigeria

6/29/2014

By Kevin Baxter

By Kevin Baxter

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

FRANCE VS. NIGERIA

Where: Brasilia. Time: 11 a.m.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: France had little trouble in its group, but it hasn't faced an attack with the speed or power of Nigeria, led by Ahmed Musa, Peter Odemwingie and Emmanuel Emenike. Before it can hope of overcoming the French, though, the African champion will have to overcome its own internal issues. The team boycotted practice Thursday over World Cup bonuses, forcing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to step in and resolve the issue. France rested three starters in its final group game and expects to be at full strength. For Nigeria, midfielder Victor Moses and defender Godfrey Oboabona are coming back from injury but expected to play.

GERMANY VS. ALGERIA

Where: Porto Alegre. Time: 2 p.m

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: Germany, deep and talented, has looked unstoppable at times and frustrated at others in this World Cup. It smashed Portugal, 4-0, in its opener but scored just three times in its final two group games, tying Ghana and edging the U.S. Germany, a three-time champion that has reached the semifinals in six of the last eight World Cups, has a big edge in pedigree over Algeria, making its first appearance in the round of 16.

That edge may be most obvious in the midfield, which figures to result in a big German lead in time of possession. Germany is expected to lose striker Lukas Podolski to a muscle strain; he'll probably be replaced by Mario Goetze.

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