Nigeria’s second round encounter with the impressive French side will be an exciting encounter as the African Champions would look to take their chances and qualify for the quarters for the first time in their history. France, however would look to banish the memories of the last World Cup in South Africa and realistically mount a challenge for the trophy.
The game started with Ambrose and Musa looking bright on the right, but the to Odemwingie falls away after a good control. Nigeria were controlling the midfield through Onazi and Odemwingie and successfully slows the game down to their preferred slow pace. Onazi goes down with injury on the 13th minute after a tackle from Pogba. Odemwingie crosses in on the 15th minute but Lloris saves from a Mikel header. At the other end, Giroud fires over after good work from Benzema.
Odemwingie is brought down by Matuidi and Emenike blazes over from the free kick. Emenike taps into the net on the 19th minute but was marginally offside. Pogba bursts into Nigeria’s half on the 23rd minute and fires home after some exquisite play with Valbuena but Enyeama pulls off a brilliant save. Pogba’s shot from distance on the 29th minute is cleared with Benzema lurking.
Koscielny stands tall to clear from Odemwingie and Ambrose as Nigeria controls the play. Cabaye and Matuidi combine well to release Debuchy on the 33rd minute and he fires wide. Evra manhandles Odemwingie in the box but the referee misses the certain foul. Pogba releases Debuchy on the 42nd minute but he blazes over. The first half ends goalless, an attacking performance from both sides but lacking the end product.
The second half starts with France passing the ball well and looking to push for a lead. Nigeria attacked through Moses on the 47th minute but Koscielny clears. Varane feels the full force of Ambrose’s cross as he tried to put off Emenike. Matuidi escapes with a yellow after a nasty tackle on Onazi that ended his contribution in the game. Ambrose’s log throw was headed out by Koscielny as Gabriel came on for the injured Onazi. Emenike’s shot on the 59th minute went over as Nigeria began to dominate in midfield. Griezmann came on for Giroud on the 62nd minute, a tactical change by Deschamps, the French Coach.
Odemwingie was fouled by Matuidi, whose physical presence has been vital in. France’s growing influence. Odemwingie’s fiery shot on the 64th minute was saved by Lloris. Odemwingie fouls Evra to foil France’s attack. Enyeama saves from Valbuena’s free kick and Oshaniwa does well to clear the danger. Mikel releases Musa but his cross was cleared by Koscielny for a corner. Nigeria’s corner was wasted and France attacked again. Griezmann fouls Ambrose and Benzema had an interchange with Valbuena before getting off his shot. Enyeama saves again and the Victor Moses cleared off the line as the ball rolled on.
Benzema shot wide on the 73rd minute as France continued the sustained attack on Nigeria. Enyeama punches a shot away on the 75th minute and Oshaniwa does well to put the ball out for a corner. Omeruo heads out the first corner and Mikel does well to clear the second effort from Benzema on the line. Cabaye’s thunderous shot on the rebound hit the cross bar as Nigeria survive again.
Enyeama flaps at a corner on the 79th minute and Pogba rose majestically to power the ball home for the first goal of the match. The onus is now on Nigeria to find an equaliser as France look to control the game. Another effort from the lively Griezmann is saved by Enyeama.
The game is getting away from Nigeria as they look clearly out of ideas. Moses’ shot from the left went out for a corner and he was replaced by Uche Nwofor shortly after. Griezmann does well to get unto a quick delivery from Benzema off a corner kick. Nigeria’s Captain, Joseph Yobo inadvertently deflects the ball into the net ahead of the advancing Enyeama.
France win 2:0 to qualify for the quarter finals. Nigeria failed to make use of their set pieces and were eventually punished by French set pieces, despite the valiant efforts of Enyeama. The introduction of Griezmann in the second half unbalanced the Nigerian side and ensured France profited from their subsequent dominance. Nigeria’s exit means Africa’s hopes lie with Algeria, who face Germany in Porto Alegre.