MATCHDAY PREVIEW - Africa's two remaining teams return to the fray on Monday in a pair of Round of 16 showdowns against European powers. For Algeria, through to the knockout phase for the first time in their history, that means a daunting tie against three-time winners Germany, who have looked in excellent form so far at Brazil 2014. Les Fennecs (Desert Foxes) fear no one, though, and particularly not their upcoming opponents, having edged both of their previous meetings: a 2-0 friendly win in 1964 and a 2-1 success during the group stage at Spain 1982.
Nigeria can point to a similar record against their last-16 rivals France, with the only match between the teams ending in a 1-0 triumph for the Super Eagles in June 2009. Despite that, *Les Bleus *have emerged as a genuine force at this FIFA World Cup™, scoring eight goals in their first two games ahead of a goalless draw with Ecuador.
That contrasted with Nigeria's more delicate progress through a very open Group F, the African champions opening with a goalless stalemate against Iran before downing Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 and losing 3-2 to Argentina in their most accomplished performance. The statistics suggest France are favourites, as does a comparison of the teams' respective trophy hauls. But who will shine when it matters?
The matchesRound of 16
France-Nigeria, Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, 13.00 (local time)
Germany-Algeria, Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, 17.00 (local time)
*Miroslav Klose needs just one more effort to become the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history, having recently drawn level with Brazil legend Ronaldo on 15 strikes. The Germany marksman has registered once so far at Brazil 2014, after notching five goals in 2002, five in 2006 and four in 2010.
*Nigeria have become the first African team to reach the knockout phase for a third time, repeating the feat of their predecessors in 1994 and 1998. The continent still awaits its maiden semi-finalists, however, with a trio of sides having reached the last eight before exiting: Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana four years ago.
*The Super Eagles saw off France 1-0 in a friendly in Saint-Etienne on 2 June 2009. Five players involved that day could feature in Brasilia: Patrice Evra, Loic Remy and Karim Benzema for France, plus Nigerian duo Peter Odemwingie and Vincent Enyeama.
*France have grabbed a spot in the knockout phase for the sixth time since 1958. Each time *Les Bleus *have made it out of the group stage, they have gone on to reach at least the semi-finals, finishing third in 1958, fourth in 1982 and third in 1986 before lifting the Trophy in 1998 and reaching the Final in 2006.
*Germany will contest their 889th international when they tackle Algeria, with their previous fixtures yielding 515 wins, 181 draws and 192 losses. The three-time World Cup winners have rattled in 1,996 goals along the way, with an average of 2.24 per game.
Treading the tightrope
Benedikt Howedes (GER)
Nabil Bentaleb, Nabil Ghilas, Liassine Cadamuro, Djamel Mesbah, Madjid Bougherra (ALG)
Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra (FRA)
Juwon Oshaniwa, Kenneth Omeruo, John Obi Mikel (NGA)
Check it outThe tie between Algeria and Germany inevitably brings to mind memories of their last World Cup meeting 32 years ago. That day, in a group stage fixture at Spain 1982, *Les Fennecs *wrote one of the most glorious chapters in their history by stunning *Die Nationalmannschaft *2-1. Revisit that sensational success in our video presentation, and via exclusive interviews with Lakhdar Belloumi and Rabah Madjer.
The question fans are asking themselves back in France is how *Les Bleus *have managed to become such a well-oiled unit with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for goals, plundering 26 and conceding just three in eight games since their play-off opener against Ukraine. In an exclusive interview with FIFA, coach Didier Deschamps provides his own take.
With the clock ticking down on France's showdown with Nigeria, *FIFA.com *also met up with Super Eagles stalwart Joseph Yobo, who briefly played in France during a spell at Marseille. Recently awarded his 100th cap, the veteran defender explains why he sees no reason to fear Benzema and Co.
On this dayBrazil clinched their fifth World Cup crown in Yokohama, Japan, on 30 June 2002, engineering a 2-0 victory against Germany in the Final. With current coach Luiz Felipe Scolari then enjoying his first stint at the *Seleção *helm, Brazil played in a 3-4-1-2 formation that featured the blistering talents of front trio Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo. The latter hit the two winning goals in the second half, on his way to ending the tournament as top scorer on eight strikes, while captain Cafu became the first player to contest three consecutive World Cup deciders. Miroslav Klose, meanwhile, spearheaded Germany's attack.
Play and winMake your prediction for the adidas Golden Ball winner at Brazil 2014 and you could walk away with your very own piece of World Cup history from the Maracana Final on 13 July. The Grand Prize for the adidas Golden Ball Predictor is an official match ball used during the 2014 World Cup showpiece, so what are you waiting for?
Top tweetFrance defender Raphael Varane tweeted his thoughts before Monday's clash with Nigeria.
"A small break after training under extreme heat. Ready for the game tomorrow!"
Un petit moment de repos après l'entraînement sous une très forte chaleur. Prêt pour le match de demain !! pic.twitter.com/towU6U7WEl
— Raphaël Varane (@raphaelvarane) June 29, 2014