Les Bleu and the African Champions met in the round of the 16, France have been great on the counter thus far in the tournament, scoring 8 goals in the tournament, while Nigeria had been able to keep two clean sheets in their three games. Due to the recent rise in form and a decent game against Argentina, the Nigerian fans and players had cause to believe they could qualify to the next round. However, the superstars of France showed everyone why they are called superstars.
Nigeria saw a lot of the ball in the first half, attacking and to an extent controlling the midfield. Nigeria had a lot of issues converting their attack into a goal, which was rather tragic and disappointing to watch. France did have a great shot by Pogba saved in the first half; Enyea-magnet (Vincent Enyeama) came to Nigeria’s rescue. The Nigerian players were impressive, though Victor Moses spent a lot of time on the ground, trying to draw a foul, which never worked in his favor. At some point it was irritating, I had to tell myself he had on turf shoes rather than studded cleats, as that would be the only rationale explanation.
The second half began as the first ended, however the French started looking more dangerous. The game saw a horrible tackle by Matuidi, which saw Onazi Stretchered off. The tackle was a very dangerous, studs were involved and I strongly feel he should have been shown a red card instead of just a yellow. Ruben Gabriel came on as a replacement for Onazi, he worked hard in the midfield, which was impressive. Les Bleu regained control of the game, continued attacking, had a few chances, one of which was a shot by Benzema cleared off the line by Moses. Then there was the shot by Cabaye, which hit the crossbar; finally France opened the door with a goal by Pogba. Enyeama should have punched that ball out rather than using his palm, that gifted Pogba with a header in an open post, which he buried to give Le Bleu the lead. France didn’t stop there, they continued pushing forward. Enyea-magnet was called into action few minutes later, Greizman blasting a shot at goal and Enyeama coming to the rescue to deny the French a second. However, he is great but not god and couldn’t stop Yobo from scoring an own goal in injury time. This goal sealed the win for France, guaranteeing them a spot in the last eight.
The Nigerian players looked tired in the second half, one would ask why Keshi didn’t introduce fresh legs into the game. He had a habit of taking one substitute back home in every game. I do not know if there is an award for preserving subs, but if there is such, the award definitely goes to Nigeria’s coach, Steven Keshi.
Congratulations to France on their qualification to the Quarterfinal and better luck to Nigeria next time.