PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil: Germany posted an extra-time victory over Algeria while France defeated Nigeria to extinguish Africa’s World Cup hopes on Monday and set up a titanic quarter-final showdown between the European rivals.
A sublime flicked finish by Chelsea’s Andre Schuerrle and a late Mesut Ozil strike gave Germany a 2-1 win over the Algerians in Porto Alegre to put Joachim Loew’s side into the last eight.
The Germans will meet European rivals France at the Maracana Stadium in Rio on Friday after Les Bleus ended Nigeria’s campaign with a 2-0 win in Brasilia.
Germany were pushed all the way by a physical but limited Algerian side, playing in the last 16 for the first time.
Schuerrle put Germany ahead in the second minute of extra time after the match finished deadlocked at 0-0 after 90 minutes.
Thomas Mueller skipped clear down the left and whipped in a low cross, and Schuerrle steered the ball into the net with a deft flick of his heel.
Ozil added a second on 120 minutes to put Germany 2-0 up before Abdelmoumene Djabou snatched a late consolation in the dying seconds of stoppage time.
It means Germany now face France for the first time at a World Cup finals since the 1986 semi-final — the last time the French lost in normal time in a World Cup finals knockout match.
“We must be better for the match against the French,” admitted Germany’s Loew.
“Today was a victory of the will.
“During the first half we were poor, we gave away a lot of ball, which invited Algeria to counter-attack us.”
France had clinched their place in the last eight courtesy of a late Paul Pogba header and a Joseph Yobo own goal.
Juventus star Pogba made the key breakthrough for France 11 minutes from time, punishing a rare mistake by Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
In the closing minutes, a low cross from Mathieu Valbuena was turned in by Yobo as he came under pressure from Antoine Griezmann.
The defeat was hard on France-based Nigeria keeper Enyeama, who had kept Les Bleus at bay with a series of fine saves.
But the win was no less than Didier Deschamps’ France deserved after dominating the contest and enjoying the better of the chances throughout.
“Deliverance came late, but all the matches at this World Cup are difficult,” said Deschamps.
“We’re among the best eight teams in the world who remain. We won’t go on about it, but we should savour it and in four days, we’ll go again.”
Disappointed Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi lashed the performance of American referee Mark Geiger.
“The referee is a human being and is bound to make mistakes, but a lot of mistakes is questionable,” Keshi said.
Off the pitch on Monday, Uruguay’s disgraced striker Luis Suarez loomed back into view after being kicked out of the tournament last week for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
After vehement public denials of wrongdoing, and claiming to FIFA disciplinary chiefs the incident was an accident, Suarez issued a carefully worded statement of apology on Twitter.
“I apologise to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family,” Suarez said, acknowledging for the first time that there was “a bite.”
“I vow to the public there will never again be another incident like” it, he added.
Arjen Robben caused a storm when he told Dutch television he dived during the controversial 2-1 win over Mexico on Sunday — but not for the penalty awarded in time added on.
However, the Dutch football federation issued a strongly-worded statement saying the media had mis-interpreted Robben and the Bayern Munich star had said he had fallen too easily and not dived.
FIFA also said they would not be taking any action.