France overcame a brilliant performance from Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama to win 2-0 in the teams’ Round of 16 match at the FIFA World Cup on Monday, advancing to the quarter-finals.
Paul Pogba scored the French winner in the 80th minute, pouncing on a miscue from Enyeama to head the ball into the back of the net.
An own goal by Joseph Yobo gave France an insurance marker in the 91st minute.
Enyeama made a great stop on a Karim Benzema header, but on the ensuing corner kick the Nigerian keeper couldn’t punch the ball away, tipping it right to Pogba, who made no mistake with his header. The goal broke the deadlock and French fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Man of the match
Paul Pogba. Best match of the tournament for the French midfielder. Dangerous with almost every touch, forced a fantastic save from Enyeama in the first half, and finally opened his World Cup account with the match-winner in the 80th minute.
Pogba’s goal was the 146th of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, breaking the scoring mark of the 2010 tournament with 11 games still left to play.
It was a good day for…
Canadian content. Canadian linesman Joe Fletcher, he of handshake fame, got his second assignment at the World Cup here. Made a big (and correct) offside call in the first half to disallow a Nigeria goal.
They said it
"What I am interested in is the here and now," France manager Didier Deschamps said. "We are among the last eight teams of the World Cup in Brazil. We have four days to rest and prepare for the game against Algeria or Germany."
"I am not happy with the officiating," Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said. "On two occasions Onazi had very bad tackles. He's out now probably for weeks. This is the first time in my life I speak about the referee but it wasn't good."
What this means
France was very professional in this win against Nigeria, and if you didn’t think Les Bleus were a World Cup contender before, you have to now. Next up is a match with either Germany or Algeria in the quarter-finals on Friday (CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup, Noon ET).
Heading home after a strong showing in Brazil. Nigeria made it to the Round of 16 for the second time in its history.