World Cup kisses goodbye to Africa 

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  • David Vincent/AP
  • France’s Mathieu Valbuena (8) celebrates after Nigeria’s Joseph Yobo scored an own-goal during a World Cup round of 16 match at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.
Nigeria and Algeria made World Cup history for Africa and now leave with their heads held high.

After putting up great resistance, Africa’s last representatives were sent home on Monday by France and Germany.

Those two former champions will next play each other on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. That quarterfinal match-up means Europe is guaranteed at least one semifinalist in this World Cup that has smiled on the Americas, supplier of eight of the last 16 teams.

With exceptional saves, goalkeepers again starred both in France’s 2-0 win over Nigeria and in Germany’s 2-1 marathon against an Algerian team whose bravura and feistiness has been among the many revelations of this surprise-packed tournament.

This was Algeria’s first taste of World Cup knockout soccer, having never advanced from the group stages in three previous attempts.

Germany needed extra time to win after both teams failed to score in two absorbing halves, and it let Abdelmoumene Djabou get a goal back in the dying seconds, doing little for the three-time champion’s credentials as a favorite to lift the trophy again on July 13. France, winner in 1998, looks the sharper of the two.

Germany’s tactics of pushing players forward and leaving a large chunk of defending to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer would almost certainly proved its undoing against a stronger attack.

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