For World Cup soccer newcomers who might be US college basketball fans, the knockout round of the World Cup is equivalent to the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament. You must keep winning to advance. Lose and your tournament participation comes to an end.
Monday, four more teams face this challenge in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. At noon Eastern time, France takes on Nigeria at the Estádio Nacional in the nation's capital, Brasília.
"Les Bleus," as the French team is known, comes into the match having won Group E on the basis of two wins and a draw. France is in much better shape than they were in 2010, when a player-coach dispute played havoc with team chemistry, as the Independent's James Olley reports.
They have so far appeared to erase the shambolic scenes of four years ago, when a mutinous squad led by Manchester United defender Patrice Evra refused to train following the French Football Federation’s decision to ban Nicolas Anelka for verbally abusing then coach Raymond Domenech following a group stage defeat to Mexico.
France, the 1998 World Cup champion, will try to keep the current good times rolling against the Nigerians, also known as the "Super Eagles," who have just dealt with potential team discord over monetary bonuses promised to the players.
The French and Nigerians have met only once before on the soccer pitch. In an international friendly played back in June of 2009, Nigeria shut out France, 1-0.
Five years later, the Telegraph's Colin Udoh reports that Nigerian head coach Stephen Keshi "has a fine record of getting unknown personnel to inflict great damage." The question is can he find the right combination of his green-shirted squad to knock off "Les Bleus."
At 4 p.m. Eastern time, Germany meets Algeria at Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre. Despite three World Cup titles, the Germans have never defeated the Algerians in international play.
The last time they met was in the 1982 World Cup, held in Spain, where Algeria knocked off the then-West German team, 2-1. However, Algeria did not reach the knockout stage that year.
This time around, Algeria comes out of Group H after beating South Korea, tying Russia, and losing to Belgium by a goal. The Germans look strong, based on their blowout win over Portugal, a solid effort versus the United States, and a come-from-behind draw with Ghana. Germany is the obvious favorite, but don't count Algeria out.
Here's how CBS analyst Jeff Borzello sees the match strategy for Algeria:
I would expect Algeria to play this match much the same way they played against Belgium in the first group match. In that one, Algeria played at least 10 men behind the ball at all times, sitting back and absorbing pressure before trying to counterattack. Many of Germany's chances in the group stage came off of crosses, and it will likely be the same against Algeria's parked bus. Germany has to try and get an early goal, forcing Algeria to open up and push up the field. When Algeria did that against Belgium, the talented European players were able to counterattack and get more space. It could be the same against Germany.
One of Algeria's 1982 World Cup heroes, Rabah Madjar, believes in this year's team, telling FIFA.com, "Our victory is a source of motivation for the players, who are pretty determined as it is. Germany have a strong side, but football and logic do not always go together.”
We'll see whether football or logic wins out early Monday evening.
Both matches can be seen on ESPN and Univision.
[Editor's note: Germany was misspelled in the summary of the original version of this story.]