French outclass Super Eagles
Posted under: 2014 FIFA World Cup, France, France News, News, Nigeria, Nigeria News
France took on Nigeria at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, with both teams wanting to advance to the Quarter-finals. France outplayed the Africans to book their place in the final eight with a 2-0 win.
The game had a lively start, as is expected from a knock-out match. France came into the game as firm favourites to win, with an exciting squad of French players who ply their trade in some of the top leagues in the world. But the African team coached by firm candidate for the Bafana Bafana post Stephen Keshi, did not just come to make up the numbers in the Round of 16 match.
Nigerian forward Peter Odemwingie was fouled just in front of the box after his team persistently asked questions of the French defence in the early moments. Nigeria didn’t convert the chance but kept stretching their opponents. 29 Year-old striker Emmanuel Emenike put the ball in the back of the net in the 17th minute after fine play from the Africans, but was ruled to be off-side by the match official who saw that the striker’s right-hand arm and leg slightly were behind of the last defender.
When France found their tempo in the match, forward Paul Pogba was central in nearly every move. His fine play from the midfield was flawless and he nearly found his team’s opener in the 21st minute when he exchanged passes with midfielder Mathieu Valbuena only for his shot at goal was kept out by veteran goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris punched away a fine attempt by Nigerian forward Victor Moses just before half time.
The high tempo continued through in to the second half and like early in the first, Nigeria were more vigorous than their opponents but were let down by a lack of clinicality in front of goal. Moses could’ve found the opening goal in the 51st minute but because of too many touches inside the box, he failed to score.
It was evident that the French didn’t want the game to drag on into extra time, and they lifted the tempo midway through the second half, only to be prevented by fine saves by Enyeama. Yohan Cabaye could have scored the opener in the 77th minute but was unfortunate for his shot to hit the crossbar.
Enyeama spectacularly saved another shot, this time from a Karim Benzima free-kick which went for a corner. This resulted in a goal for young French prodigy Pogba, who neatly headed the ball into the net after being left unmarked in the box.
Coach Didier Dechamps’s decision to bring on midfielder Antoine Griezmann was a wise one as he stretched the already tired Nigerian defence. The Nigerians were exhausted and it was obvious when the French got their second goal through a Joseph Yobo own goal which first looked like it was scored by Griezmann.
The Nigerians tried but their performance in the second half didn’t match their first half showing, where they could have led going into the break. The French continue their quest to reclaiming the title they won in 1998on home soil , as they booked their place in the Quarter-finals.
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