Paul Pogba

Not a great match from France who were the most impressive team in this World Cup, but their superiority through the second half of the match, first coming with a Paul Pogba header after a Vincent Enyeama mistake and as Nigeria sent more players forward, a counter attack with a cross that bounced off of Joseph Yobo finished the encounter with a 2-0 French win, moving on to the quarterfinals.

The first half was a demonstration of bad decisions from the French attack and also one from Didier Deschamps. Olivier Giroud started in the middle and couldn’t overcome Yobo with strength, while the faster and quicker Karim Benzema was wasted on the wing. Nigeria didn’t attack with fewer players than usual but we saw more discipline from midfielders and attackers when tracking back.

However, Nigeria couldn’t keep with that approach in the second half and fell back, slowing down the match and trying from time to time to strike France on counter attacks. Putting Giroud on the bench while sending Antoine Griezmann changed the front three look for France, suddenly a lot quicker and difficult to track for Nigeria.

The first goal came from a corner that Vincent Enyeama, who pulled off some impressive saves through the first 79 minutes, handled very badly, resulting in Paul Pogba finding himself completely open with no one on the goal line to stop his header from going in. In the 90th minute, with Nigeria not really managing to create anything dangerous, Griezmann managed to give the ball a slight touch after it was crossed to him by Mathieu Valbuena, and Joseph Yobo help him score by fooling Enyeama, moving in the other direction.

France will now wait for the winner in the Germany – Algeria match in what should be a very interesting quarterfinals no matter the match up, advancing to the quarterfinals of a tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup, when they made it all the way to the final.

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