France beat Nigeria by 2-0 to book their way into the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Les Bleus did not put in a convincing performance and were matched the defending Africa Cup of Nations champions. A lapse in concentration in the final 15 minutes was enough to grant France two opportunities on which they capitalised on.

Going into the match it was obvious that Nigeria would look to harm France on the counter attack. Les Bleus were wary of this tactic and counteracted it by sitting very deep and allowing the Super Eagles time on the ball. Nigeria made use of their possession and seemed to provide occasional threat that had to keep French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris on his toes.

In the 19th minute the French was dealt a massive scare as Emmanuel Emenike’s close range finish from a Ahmed Musa cross was ruled out for offside. Midway through the first half a good save from Vincent Enyeama off a Paul Pogba volley, proved to be France’s first chance. Les Bleus from that moment seemed to have a foot hold on the game. The half ended from a long range strike form John Obi MIkel.

The second half tempo was significantly lower in the second half and tihis played well into the hands of Nigeria. The Super Eagles were dealt a blow around the hour mark when a bad tackle from Blaise Matuidi saw Ogenyi Onazi stretched off. Ten minutes later a neat one-two played in Antoine Griezman who could not beat Enyeama one-on-one and the resulting save was cleared off the goal line by Victor Moses.

Unlucky hero

Griezman’s miss served as a wakeup call as the France pilled on the pressure and began creating multiple opportunites. Enyeama who is one of the key players in Nigeria’s qualification proved his worth has pulled a couple of brilliant saves to keep the tie level. However, off a corner Enyema’s weak attempt to swat a corner, perfectly placed the ball on Paul Pogba’s head to put the French ahead. It could have been 2-0 shortly thereafter but Enyeama pulled off yet another brilliant save as he tipped over a close range shot.  However, the stop only served to delay the inevitable, an own goal from Joseph Yobo on Valbuena’s low cross confirming the defeat in stoppage time.

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