CHICAGO --On the third day of the World Cup's knockout stage, the highest ranked FIFA team left in the tournament, second-ranked Germany, faced Algeria at Estadio Beria-Rio in Porte Alegre.
The weather favored the Germans, 55 degrees Fahrenheit and light rain. But Algeria would be a pest as the game went to overtime. It didn't take the Germans long to get the first goal. Thomas Mueller passed to Andre Schuerrle, who back-kicked it past the Desert Foxes keeper Rais Mbolhi, who up to this point was the man of the match. Then, in the 119th minute, Mesuit Ozil picked off a rebound and slammed it home. It was 2-0 and the match was over. With less than a minute to go, Islam Slimani scored for the Desert Foxes, but it was too little, too late and Germany moves on.
The first match of day featured France facing Nigeria and I thought the Super Eagles could overcome the difficulties of dealing with their national federation concerning payment. The game remained scoreless until the 79th minute when midfielder Paul Pogba scored and for all intents and purposes, this game was over. But the Nigerian's decided to give a little gift of an "own goal" credited to the Super Eagles Joseph Yobo. France advances to the quarterfinals for a date against Germany on Friday at 11 a.m. Chicago time.
So, that brings me to Tuesday's games, the final knockout stage matches of the tournament. At 11 a.m. CST, Argentina will take on Switzerland in what should be a mighty battle. Lionel Messi might be too much for the Swiss defenders to deal with and so I have the Argentines winning. In the second game, the United States will face Belgium. Jozy Altodore is improving, but I doubt if he can play a full 90 minutes with the hamstring problem, suffered June 16. I'm going with my patriotic sympathies and picking the United States to win and advance to the quarterfinals on the strength of our keeper, Tim Howard. He's one of the best in the world and he seems to rise to the occasion of national pride.
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Since joining ABC7 in 1982, Jim Rose has become a major force in Chicago sports broadcasting. He currently serves as sports anchor/reporter for ABC7 News in Chicago's top-rated 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. He is an avid fan of the World Cup! Learn more about Jim