Football Article

France v Nigeria World Cup 2014 2nd round preview & live

France v Nigeria World Cup 2014 2nd round preview & live Photo: TT

France and Nigeria will meet in their Round of 16 clash at the FIFA World Cup 2014 clash which will be played on Monday, June 30 at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia.

While the Les Bleus have qualified as group leaders after winning Group E with 7 points from their 3 games, Nigeria came in second in Group F with 4 points from as many games.

France begun their World Cup with a 3-0 win over Honduras and followed it up with a big 5-2 win over Switzerland at Salvador de Bahia on June 20. They drew their last match against a 10-man Ecuador who had Antonio Valencia sent off.

The highlight of the French campaign so far has been the performances of their star forward Karim Benzema. The Real Madrid star has played a starring role for his team with some great performances for his team. Benzema has definitely stepped up his game and assumed a lot of responsibility as he contributes heavily for the team. He has been dropping in deep to collect the ball, provided some great assists against the Swiss besides scoring some fantastic goals in the tournament.

France have a great defence with Raphael Varane and Mamadou Sakho forming the chosen central defensive pairing under Didier Deschamps. They have a very strong midfield as well with Paul Pogba the star man. Yohan Cabaye’s passing ability and Blaise Matuidi’s calming presence lends the French midfield a balance which is not there in other teams competing at this edition of the World Cup.

Nigeria begun their tournament with a drab nil-all draw before winning 1-0 against Bosnia and Herzegovina thanks to a goal from Peter Odemwingie. They lost their final group game 3-2 against an excellent Argentina side despite Ahmed Musa’s brilliant display on the day. Although Lionel Messi scored the same number of goals on the day, it was the youngster’s performance which drew more praise.

They will heavily rely on Ahmed Musa to produce some individual brilliance as they aim to cross the line when they face France.

While Nigeria seemed to be goal shy and too negative in their approach in the first couple of games, they did come out flying off the blocks against Argentina, nearly surprising them. Nigeria though will need to be much more compact as they face an uphill battle against a side which is much stronger than them in more or less every department of the game.

This match will likely be won in midfield and the feeling is that the Les Bleus should be able to dominate in this area of the pitch. Nigeria will need to play out of their skins to have any hopes whatsoever of making the next round.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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