rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: France leave it late, keep impressive record intact

PHOTOS: France leave it late, keep impressive record intact

July 01, 2014 00:20 IST

PHOTOS: Les Bleus keep impressive last 16 record intact

     Next

Next

Two late goals helped 1998 champions end African champions Nigeria's hopes of a first World Cup quarter-final appearance in a rough second-round match at the Estadio National in Brasilia. 

The 2-0 result meant the Les Bleus' record of having never lost a last 16 game in the tournament in tact.

Since the last of 16 was introduced in the 1986 edition in Mexico, France have never lost in four matches. They beat holders Italy 2-0 in 1986, Paraguay 1-0 after extra time in 1998 and Spain 3-1 in 2006.

Paul Pogba put France ahead in the 79th minute, heading in at the far post after Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama flapped at Mathieu Valbuena’s corner following a sustained spell of French pressure.

It was the first World Cup goal for the Juventus star.

Complete coverage of the football World Cup 

- Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Paul Pogba of France celebrates scoring his team's first goal with teammates
Photographs: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

     Next

It was a sad end for Nigerian goalkeeper Enyeama

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The win was sealed when Joseph Yobo turned a low cross into his own goal in stoppage time and France will play Germany or Algeria in the last eight.

It was a controversial victory, however, as the game had swung France's way after Nigeria’s influential midfielder Ogenyi Onazi was injured by a late tackle from Blaise Matuidi, who was lucky to escape with only a yellow card.

It was also a sad end for Enyeama, the Nigerian being the goalkeeper with the most saves thus far in the tournament. Of his 20 stops were three in the match that denied Pogba, Benzema and Griezmann. 

- Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Joseph Yobo of Nigeria (left) scores an own goal as goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and Antoine Griezmann of France look on
Photographs: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Prev     Next

The African champions made a bright start

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Nigeria had been defending increasingly desperately in the run-up to Pogba's goal.

The African champions made a bright start and thought they had gone ahead when Emmanuel Emenike turned in Ahmed Musa's low cross at the near post but the effort was ruled offside in an extremely close call.

Nigeria produced some neat moves in midfield interspersed with basic unforced errors and Mikel was lucky to escape when he sliced Patrice Evra's low cross towards his own goal and was relieved to see the ball land in Enyeama's hands.

Nigeria should have gone ahead just before halftime when France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris parried Emenike's fierce shot back into his area but Moses handled as he attempted to control the rebound. 

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Emmanuel Emenike of Nigeria scores but the goal is disallowed
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Prev     Next

Benzema failed to add to his tally

Prev     More
Prev

More

France were centimeters from going ahead when Karim Benzema poked the ball past Enyeama, who managed to partly block his shot and Victor Moses hooked the ball off the line.

Nigeria escaped again when John Obi Mikel cleared Benzema's shot off the line, then Yohan Cabaye struck the underside of the crossbar with a thunderous long-range strike.

Enyeama then tipped Benzema's close-range header over the bar, leading to the corner from which France scored their first goal.

The Real Madrid star is the leading scorer for France thus far in the tournament but was denied an addition to his tally by the Nigerians. Not that it mattered. 

For the record, the last five times France have got past the first round they have at least reached the semi-finals. Ca they keep that record in tact? Let's wait and watch. 


Image: Karim Benzema of France controls the ball against Efe Ambrose of Nigeria
Photographs: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Prev     More