Netherlands 2 Mexico 1
The Netherlands barely edged Mexico in yesterday's opener. Mexico led for the majority of the game after a beautiful left-footed goal from Giovanni dos Santos in the 48th minute. Time was dwindling away when Wesley Sneijder drilled one home to off a deflection from Huntelaar in the 88th minute. The game looked as if it were headed into extra time when Arjen Robben zoomed into the box and drew a controversial penalty. Huntelaar capitalized on the penalty and calmly sent the ball into the back of the net and the Netherlands through to the Quarterfinals.
Costa Rica 1 (5-3) Greece 1
Costa Rica advances to their first ever quarterfinals and in dramatic fashion. Costa Rica took the lead in the game after a perfectly placed shot from team leader Bryan Ruiz in the 52nd minute. Greece then controlled the momentum of the game after a red card from Costa Rican defender Oscar Duarte. Costa Rica managed to stave off the Greeks until the 92nd minute when Papastathopoulos pounded one past Costa Rican keeper Navas. The match was stagnant after extra time, but the winded Costa Rican team executed their penalty kicks masterfully, while Navas came up with a clutch, game-saving punch out on a shot from Gekas.
France and Nigeria take the field at noon today in Brazil. France dominated their Group, winning games against the Swiss and Honduras and tying Ecuador. Nigeria barely squeaked through their group, losing to Argentina but tying Iran and defeating Bosnia. France is led by an experienced defensive line and goal scorers Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema. Nigeria won the only meeting between the two teams.
Germany and Algeria headline the afternoon game in Brazil. Germany owned Group F, winning games over the United States and Portugal and tying Ghana. Algeria took the two seed from Group H, defeating South Korea and tying Russia. Germany is the heavy favorite in the match and is led by Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze. Algeria has won the only two meetings between the teams.
Players to watch
France: #10 Karim Benzema, forward
Nigeria: #10 John Obi Mikel, midfielder
Germany: #13 Thomas Muller, forward
Algeria: #10 Sofiane Feghouli, midfielder
Date, time and location
June 30th, 12:00 p.m., Estádio Nacional de Brasilia, Brasília (France vs. Nigeria) ESPN
June 30th, 4:00 p.m., Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre (Germany vs. Algeria) ESPN