There was a healthy contingent of English-based players on show as the last 16 continued, with Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil all involvedIt was another busy day of Premier League involvement at World Cup 2014 as France, one of the teams with the highest proportion of English-based players in the competition, took on Nigeria in the second round.
Germany were also in action against Algeria, with their Arsenal stars on show in the last 16, as the two European giants set up a mouth-watering quarter-final encounter.
Chelsea also had John Obi Mikel and Andre Schurrle in the mix - Goal looks over the performances of the English top flight's elite...
|JOHN OBI MIKEL
The Chelsea stalwart was stationed in his usual position in front of the back four, tasked with taming Paul Pogba, the man who could be joining Mikel at Stamford Bridge next season if Jose Mourinho gets his way.
After a slow start, Pogba grew in stature throughout the match, often overpowering and outmanoeuvring Mikel before plundering the game’s opening goal 10 minutes before the end.
Mikel’s fellow Premier League-based Nigerian stars endured a similarly frustrating time of it, with Peter Odemwingie failing to really trouble Patrice Evra, while Victor Moses's most important contribution was to clear Karim Benzema's goal-bound effort from underneath his own crossbar.
The Newcastle defender has emerged as a reported target for Arsenal, who are looking to replace Bacary Sagna, the man whom Debuchy is keeping out of the France national side.
The former Lille right-back was hesitant in defence, exemplified by the nervous header which allowed Ahmed Musa the chance to cross for Emmanuel Emineke to turn home what appeared to be the game’s opening goal, before the linesman’s flag intervened.
As an attacking threat Debuchy was largely subdued, although he did waste France’s clearest opportunity in the opening period when he sliced wide from the edge of the penalty area after a typically forceful run.
On the opposite flank, Manchester United's Patrice Evra was a steady and reassuring presence who largely negated the threat of Odemwingie.
The Arsenal centre-back retained his place in the starting line-up by virtue of the fact Mamadou Sakho failed to shake off the effects of a thigh injury.
Koscielny excelled for the Gunners last season alongside Per Mertesacker, whose organisational and leadership skills allowed his partner to flourish.
Technically, Raphael Varane is a far superior defender to Sakho but his partnership with Koscielny looked anything but rock-steady in the first half, particularly.
The pair recovered their composure after the interval but France will likely benefit from having Sakho back, should he recover, for the quarter final against Germany.
In front of his Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, Giroud gave a listless, clumsy performance that will likely see him lose his place in the side when France meet Germany in the quarter-finals.
The striker's movement was almost non-existent and his touch wayward, while his presence forced Karim Benzema out wide.
The Real Madrid star was far more effective in his preferred position once Giroud was withdrawn just past the hour mark, while Antoine Griezmann's lively cameo, in all probability, has cemented Deschamps's plans and Giroud's fate ahead of the showdown with Germany.
With Germany tested to their limits by a dogged Algeria side, Mesut Ozil found it tough at times to find the room to express himself and struggled along with most of Joachim Low's charges, particularly in the first half.
While the Arsenal midfielder was involved in most of his side's attacking play, there were few of his trademark killer passes to unlock the defence.
However, after somewhat unusually staying on the pitch for the whole game as well as extra time, he netted what turned out to be the decisive goal towards the end of the night, combining with Andre Schurrle to take the keeper out of the equation before finishing.
With his regular centre-back partner, Mats Hummels, laid low by flu, Per Mertesacker was stationed alongside Jerome Boateng against Algeria but looked a little vulnerable without the Borussia Dortmund man next to him.
Vahid Halilhodzic's men tested the German back line, particularly in the first half, with pace that threatened to show up the Arsenal man's slower legs.
More than once, however, Mertesacker decisively got in between breakaway attackers and goal in a strong performance.
Introduced at half-time in order to add some much-needed punch to an under-par Germany attack, Andre Schurrle was one of the better performers for Low's side and deserved his name on the scoresheet at the start of extra time, even if the finish itself might have been somewhat fortuitous.
Busy and direct, the Chelsea man was a big part of the extra pressure put on Algeria goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi in the second period and also combined with Ozil to secure the vital second goal. A fine evening's work.