Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
World Cup Today: Monday
by Paul Kennedy, June 30th, 2014 4:28PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  france, nigeria, world cup 2014

MOST COMMENTED

[BRAZIL 2014] Four years ago, France went home winless and disgraced after a player mutiny. Now, it is headed to the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup after a 2-0 win over Nigeria.

The Bleus broke open the game after the introduction of sub Antoine Griezmann late in the second half and won on a header by Paul Pogba and own goal by Nigerian captain Joseph Yobo, both off corner kicks.

With Olivier Giroud up top alongside Karim Benzema, the French created few opportunities for themselves, but that changed after the introduction of Griezmann on the left wing in the 61st minute. Eight minutes later, Victor Moses was called on to clear the ball off the goal line from a shot by Benzema deflected by goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

In the 76th minute, Yohan Cabaye hit the crossbar from the edge of the area off a corner kick, and two minutes later Pogba looped a header over a maze of players after Enyeama could only tip on Mathieu Valbuena's corner kick. As stoppage time began, the French put the game away off a short corner as Valbuena played the ball into Griezmann and the pass deflected off Yobo into the goal.

"There are no words to describe this," said Pogba, one of the young stars of the French squad. Just last year he was playing on France's U-20 team that the U.S. U-20s tied, 1-1, at the Under-20 World Cup the French eventually won.

"I know there is a whole country behind us," he added. "Scoring that goal really liberated us. I am so happy for the team and all France. I'm speechless."

"To score a goal for your country, especially in an important match like this to get into the World Cup quarterfinals, it's one of the best moments of my life."

For the first hour, Nigeria was very much in the game, and the Super Eagles had their complaints with American referee Mark Geiger. French midfielder Blaise Matuidi was lucky to escape with only a yellow card for a second-half challenge on Ogenyi Onazi that forced the Nigerian midfielder to leave the game.

"The referee is a human being and is bound to make some mistakes," said Nigeria coach Steven Keshi, "but a lot of mistakes were questionable. I'm not happy about it, but he is the alpha and omega and decides what goes on the pitch."

The win continued France's Jekyll-and-Hyde performances at the World Cup. In the last five tournaments, it has been champion, finished last in its group, finished runner-up, finished last in its group and now reached the quarterfinals with 10 goals scored in four games. Overall, the Bleus have been to the World Cup 14 times. They've exited seven times at the first hurdle and advanced at least as far as the final eight on the seven other occasions.

"I am very proud of everything we did from the start," said French coach Didier Deschamps. "There was tension out there. They are a very strong team and there were a lot of duels. But we're through. We're in the quarterfinals and we'll do everything we can to go a stage further."




No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Player Ratings: USA reaches new low in Klinsmann era    
Of the 16 matches the USA has played at competitive tournaments in the Jurgen Klinsmann era, ...
European draw for 2018 World Cup produces enticing groups    
A group with former World Cup champions Spain and Italy and another with Netherlands, France and ...
What They're Saying: Mauricio Pochettino    
[MLS All-Stars coach] Pablo [Mastroeni] and I share something. Pablo is Argentine like me, same nationality.  ...
Tottenham manager loves challenge of playing in altitude    
For many of Tottenham's players, playing at altitude, even in the Mile-High City of Denver at ...
Three-time gold-medalist Boxx will retire after USA's fall tour    
Shannon Boxx, who won three Olympic gold medals to go along with her Women's World Cup ...
Washington Spirit Reserves claim first W-League title    
The Washington Spirit Reserves got two goals from Chilean Yanara Aedo Munoz -- including the game-winner ...
Top 25 U.S. Soccer Crowds (2015)    
Soccer fever was evident as five matches drew crowds of more than 60,000 last week: the ...
NWSL Weekend: Seattle reigns after thumping Thorns    
Seattle Reign FC moved into first place in the NWSL with a 3-0 win over Portland ...
USL Weekend: Rhinos' unbeaten streak reaches 19 games    
Steevan Dos Santos' goal in the 10th minute gave the Rochester Rhinos a 1-0 win over ...
Video Pick: Anderlecht wonderkid scores stunner    
Youri Tielemans, who made Sacha Kljestan expendable at Anderlecht when he broke into the starting lineup ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives