Hard to believe that there's only eight teams left in the World Cup, but we're staring down the final nine days of a competition that's been terrific to watch. Today's first quarterfinal should be a good one; France have surprised everyone with their form since arriving in Brazil, breezing through group play and outlasting Nigeria in the Round of 16. Didier Deschamps has done an excellent job since taking the helm, forming an effective and, perhaps most importantly, seemingly united squad. Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho will hopefully come back into the side after missing out through injury against Nigeria.
Germany have also been something of a surprise, but not in a particularly pleasant way. Yes, there one of the last eight teams standing, and yes, they're won three of their four matches thus far. But since the opening win against Portugal, they've looked less impressive, and against Algeria in the Round of 16 they labored to the win with two extra-time goals after struggling to create anything of note in normal time. If their problems continue against France, we could see one of the early favorites heading home.
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