France are through to the quarter finals of the 2014 World Cup after scoring two late goals against Nigeria at Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia this morning.
Nigeria went into the round of 16 clash as heavy underdogs, but the African side got off to a fast start and had the better of proceedings in the first 30 minutes, while France struggled to string together their passes.
Emmanuel Emenike looked as though he had put Nigeria in front in the 18th minute when he got onto the end of an Ahmed Musa cross, but he was ruled to be in an offside position, despite replays showing that he was in line with the French defenders.
France started to take control of possession towards the end of the first half and created some chances of their own, with Paul Pogba looking dangerous each time he was on the ball, but Nigeria still looked dangerous on the counter attack.
Les Blues played far better in the second half, with Mathieu Valbuena steering traffic for his side, but were unable to find the final pass that they need to get in an attempt on goal before Karim Benzema had consecutive chances with 15 minutes left to play, but he was denied on both occasions by Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
The constant pressure was finally too much for Nigeria and Pogba put France in front with his first World Cup goal in the 79th minute before the European side sealed their progression to the next phase of the tournament courtesy of an own goal from Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo.
While France’s performance from far from perfect, coach Didier Deschamps said that he was pleased with the way that his sides finished off the game and was delighted that his side had progressed to the quarter finals of the 2014 World Cup.
“A game lasts 90 minutes and we finished very well,” Deschamps said in the postgame press conference.
“We had a very strong last half an hour with more dynamism and speed.
“When you look at the recent past of the French national team, I am very proud to be in the last eight of this World Cup.
“We came very far and whatever happens now it’s not failure.”
France will take on Germany at Estadio do Maracana on Saturday morning in what shapes as one of the most interesting quarter final clashes of the 2014 World Cup.
France are now available at 2014 World Cup odds of $9 in the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au; with Brazil ($3.50) still favourites from Argentina ($5), Germany ($5) and Netherlands ($5.50).