World Cup 2014: Day 19 - open thread

Ian Walton

It's European powerhouses against African underdogs on day 19 of the World Cup.

When even a Greece knockout stage match is providing as much excitement as their elimination at the hands of Costa Rica did yesterday, you know it's a good World Cup. Hopefully the gripping entertainment will continue on Monday, when European footballing powerhouses France and Germany take on the unfancied African sides Nigeria and Algeria.

Today's games

France vs. Nigeria, Brasília, 12:00 ET/17:00 UK

The early action sees France take on Nigeria in Brasília, where Les Bleus ought to build on their promising performances to date with another victory. At present they're looking one of the most formidable teams in the tournament, and aren't dogged by the dressing room divides that have ruined many of their recent international experiences. Certainly, Nigeria shouldn't be ruled out, with their excellent technical wingers giving them a threat on the counter-attack. But ultimately, France should have too much power for the Super Eagles to deal with.

Germany vs. Algeria, Porto Alegre, 16:00 ET/21:00 UK

The day's second match is even more predictable on paper, though anyone who has watched Algeria on grass would do better than expect them to roll over against Germany. Les Fennecs stifled Belgium for 70 minutes in their group stage opener, and impressed with a more attacking approach against South Korea and Russia. Expect them to sit deep and compact again against Die Mannschaft, making it difficult for Joachim Löw's side to play through them. Germany should win, but it shouldn't be easy.

Today's United connections

United left-back Patrice Evra is expected to return to the France starting lineup after being rested in their last match, while Paul Pogba -- a.k.a. Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest blunder -- will also feature in Les Bleus' midfield trio. German backup goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler also used to play for United after joining as a youth in 2005, though never made a first-team appearance and was sold to Hannover five years later.

Other stuff

Your correspondent has written big previews for both of today's games: France vs. Nigeria and Germany vs. Algeria. There's also a lot more over at SB Nation Soccer, including a big feature looking back at all of yesterday's action. Make sure to check out the coverage over there throughout the day.

How to watch

If you're in the U.K., you'll find France vs. Nigeria on the BBC, and Germany vs. Algeria over on ITV. Across the Atlantic, ESPN and Univison have the games in the USA, while CBC have them in Canada. All have streaming options available. For other countries, check LiveSoccerTV.

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