France’s supporters may be dreaming of a return to glory for Les Bleus and based on current form no one can blame them. The team has performed admirably in 2014. The scoreline flatters them a little perhaps but in 2010 they went home in disgrace. This time around they are playing attractive attacking football and when required they get stuck in and get the result. It is a good time to be a french football fan.
Nigeria will feel a little hard done by that they could not hold on to see the game into extra time or even steal the win on a break. The were not without quality chances.
Some quarters were calling for Paul Pogba to be dropped ahead of this game. Deschamps kept his young charge in the team and was rewarded with a goal in the 79th minute. Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama flapped at a corner and could only deflect it onto Pogba’s head who stood unmarked beyond the far post. One nil France.
The game had been an even contest until Deschamps pulled Giroud out of the action, moved Benzema from right wing to a central position and put Antoine Griezmann on the left wing. Onazi left the field after a strong tackle from Matudi and Nigeria were unable to regain control of the midfield. The second goal was credited as an own goal to Yobo as he attempted to clear the attempt by Griezmann.
Nigerian coach Keshi had a few choice comments after the game:
“I am not happy with the officiating because Onazi, on two occasions, he had a very bad tackle and nothing was done by the referee,” Keshi said.
“I think the referee was just … for me, I think he was biased. This is the first time I will speak about the referee in my life as a coach but it wasn’t good.
“If you look at the goal we scored, I don’t think there was any infringement. The referee is a human being, bound to make some mistakes, but a lot of mistakes is questionable.”
France meet Germany in the quarter-finals on Friday 6pm