Monday June 30th, 2014

Two of the European favorites to win the World Cup will start their knockout round on Monday.

Germany entered the tournament as a favorite, while France has emerged as one due to its play in the group stage. Both teams will try to avoid upsets to advance to the quarterfinals after each won in penalty kicks on Sunday.

France vs. Nigeria

France is a -220 favorite to win in 90 minutes plus added time over Nigeria. Nigeria is going off at +600 and the draw is going off at +350. France is -450 to advance into the quarterfinals while Nigeria is +300 to do so. The total is set at 2.5 goals.

France came into the World Cup with a handful of questions all over the pitch, and things looked even worse when veteran Franck Ribery was ruled out of the tournament with an injury.

But the young French side turned up the attack in the group stage and churned out a 3-0 win over Honduras and a 5-2 win over Switzerland in which it lead 5-0. France defended well in a 0-0 draw against Ecuador to win Group E.

Nigeria's 0-0 tie against Iran looked bad at the time, but both teams turned out to be stronger than originally predicted. Iran followed that game up with a solid 0-1 effort against Argentina while Nigeria picked up a 1-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Nigeria also looked competitive in a 3-2 loss to Argentina, trading blows with the World Cup favorites. Despite showing some defensive weakness which the French undoubtedly noticed, Nigeria show it could hang with the strong teams.

Prediction: 3-1 France

Germany vs. Algeria

Germany is a -350 favorite to beat Algeria without the need of extra time. Algeria is a +850 underdog to win the game and +500 to force extra time. Germany is -750 to advance over Algeria at +450. The total is set at 2.5 goals.

Germany came into the World Cup as the European and proved why in a statement 4-0 win over Portugal. The Germans followed that game up with a letdown effort in a 2-2 draw against Ghana, but locked up Group G with a 1-0 win over the United States in the rain.

Germany's depth on offense and defense was on display in this tough group.

Algeria was projected to be the weakest team in Group H as Belgium was expected to win with Russia or South Korea coming in second. Belgium did win the group, but it was Algeria that rose to the second spot.

After playing well in a 2-1 loss to Belgium, Algeria crushed South Korea 4-2 and played to a 1-1 draw against Russia.

Algeria has plenty of heart and will give Germany everything it has got, but it would take a perfect storm to keep Germany out of the quarterfinals.

Prediction: 2-0 Germany 

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