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World Cup on Monday: France faces fast, powerful Nigeria

SoccerSportsFIFA World CupESPNGoodluck Jonathan
Nigeria will have to overcome internal issues as it prepares to play France
Three-time World Cup champion Germany plays Algeria on Monday

FRANCE VS. NIGERIA

Where: Brasilia. Time: 9 a.m. PDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: France had little trouble in its group, but it hasn't faced an attack with the speed or power of Nigeria, led by Ahmed Musa, Peter Odemwingie and Emmanuel Emenike. Before it can hope of overcoming the French, though, the African champion will have to overcome its own internal issues. The team boycotted practice Thursday over World Cup bonuses, forcing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to step in and resolve the issue. Similar rows over bonuses helped usher Cameroon and Ghana out of the tournament. Four years ago it was the French players who went on strike in South Africa. This time it's been a quiet World Cup with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema leading the team to the second round with three goals and two assists. France rested three starters in its final group game and expects to be at full strength. For Nigeria, midfielder Victor Moses and defender Godfrey Oboabona are coming back from injury but expected to play.

GERMANY VS. ALGERIA

Where: Porto Alegre. Time: 1 p.m. PDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: Germany, deep and talented, has looked unstoppable at times and frustrated at others in this World Cup. It smashed Portugal, 4-0, in its opener but scored just three times in its final two group games, tying Ghana and edging the U.S. Four of its seven goals have come from Thomas Mueller while keeper Manuel Neuer has posted two shutouts — the only two goals he allowed coming against an African team. Germany, a three-time champion that has reached the semifinals in six of the last eight World Cups, has a big edge in pedigree over Algeria, making its first appearance in the round of 16. That edge may be most obvious in the midfield, which figures to result in a big German lead in time of possession. Germany is expected to lose striker Lukas Podolski to a muscle strain; he'll probably be replaced by Mario Goetze.

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