World Cup kisses goodbye to Africa

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 30, 2014 at 7:56 pm •  Published: June 30, 2014
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Nigeria and Algeria made World Cup history for Africa and now leave with their heads held high.

Despite tenacious resistance, Africa's last representatives were sent home on Monday by France and Germany.

Those two former champions will next play each other on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. That quarterfinal means Europe is guaranteed at least one semifinalist in this World Cup that has smiled on the Americas, supplier of eight of the last 16 teams.

With exceptional saves, goalkeepers again starred both in France's 2-0 win over Nigeria and Germany's 2-1 marathon against an Algerian team whose bravura has been among the many revelations of this surprise-packed tournament.

This was Algeria's first taste of World Cup knockout football, having never advanced from the group stages in three previous attempts.

Germany needed extra time to win after both teams failed to score in two absorbing halves, and it let Abdelmoumene Djabou get a goal back in the dying seconds, doing little for the three-time champion's credentials as a favorite to lift the trophy again on July 13.

France, winner in 1998, looks the sharper of the two. Germany's tactics of pushing players forward and leaving a large chunk of defending to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer would almost certainly undo it against a stronger attack.

Other highlights of another dramatic day at one of the best World Cups in memory included:

—France's Paul Pogba scored the 146th goal, pushing the tally from this tournament beyond that of South Africa in 2010, with 10 matches still to play.

__The goal total climbed to 150 by the end of Monday's two games, after an own-goal from Nigerian captain Joseph Yobo that sealed France's win, extra time strikes for Germany from Andre Schuerrle and Mesut Ozil, and Djabou's consolation goal. If the current average of more than 2 goals per game holds through to the final, Brazil could finish with the highest goals total of any of the 20 World Cups. The total to beat is 171, scored at France 1998.

—Luis Suarez confessed. Having previously denied that he bit Giorgio Chiellini, the disgraced Uruguay striker reversed course, apologized to the Italy defender and to "the entire football family" via Twitter and vowed that his third ban for biting would be his last.

Chiellini quickly tweeted back: "It's all forgotten. I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension."

Suarez is serving a four-month ban for what FIFA's disciplinary panel ruled was a "deliberate, intentional" and unprovoked bite in Uruguay's 1-0 group stages win against Italy. Without Suarez, Uruguay promptly lost 2-0 to Colombia in the last 16.

—Facebook said it passed the 1 billion mark in World Cup interactions. No other single event has generated this much activity in Facebook history.

Before Brazil, Africa never had two teams make the knockout stage at the same tournament. Like Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010), the Nigerians were hoping to reach their first quarterfinals after twice stalling at the last 16.



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