Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane and Sami Khedira will all suit up today and take the pitch in their attempts to take their respective nations into the round of eight this coming week. The French will take on Nigeria, while Germany will face Algeria. On paper, one would expect both France and Germany to have a relatively comfortable time in these matches but given the wild and unpredictable results we've seen in this World Cup, I think we should be prepared for any kind of drama which may come out way.
France vs. Nigeria
France starting XI: Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Koscielny, Evra; Pogba, Matuidi, Cabaye; Valbuena, Giroud, Benzema.
Nigeria starting XI: Enyeama; Ambrose, Yobo, Omeruo, Oshaniwa; Mikel, Onazi; Musa, Moses, Odemwingie; Emenike.
Germany vs. Algeria
Germany starting XI: To be announced
Algeria starting XI: To be announced
Players to watch
Obviously keep an eye out for Benzema, who already has four (or six if you're feeling super generous) goals to his name and Varane as they will anchor the attack and defense, respectively, of their nation. For Germany, Khedira will be the workhorse in the midfield looking to keep Algeria in check so that his passing maestro teammates can assert their influence.
As far as transfer targets, where to start? Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Hugo Lloris and Toni Kroos (especially today) have all been linked with Real Madrid to varying strengths of reports. No one, to my knowledge at least, from Nigeria and Algeria have been linked to the club.
Good luck to those rooting for the teams and have fun chatting!