France scores two late goals, beats Nigeria in round of 16

By Brian McMahon,
The two teams were evenly matched for much of the game, but France pulled away late to win 2-0 and earn a spot in the quarterfinals

After the two teams had been evenly matched for most of the game, France scored two late goals to deny Nigeria a trip the World Cup semifinals for the first time.

Despite only scoring three goals throughout all of group play, Nigeria looked the more confident team in attack during the first 20 minutes of the match. Their optimism nearly paid off in the 19th minute, but Emmanuel Emenike's goal was disallowed for being offsides.

Raphaël Varane of France should have done better with an opportunity to score in the 40th minute, but his shot went off target. The two teams went into halftime tied at 0-0.

It became evident that the neutral fans at Estádio Nacional de Brasilia were cheering for the underdogs Nigeria, as all near chances got much more of a reaction.

Karim Benzema should have scored in the 70th minute after several skillful passes by France inside the box lead to Benzema having a one-on-one with Nigerian keeper, Vincent Enyeama. However, Enyeama was up for the challenge, and used his left hand to deny the Real Madrid man from scoring his fourth goal of the tournament, keeping the score level.

Nigeria dodged a bullet in the 77th minute when Yohan Cabaye's long range effort beat the goalie but not the goal, as his shot bounced off the crossbar.

French relief came in the 79th minute when Paul Pogba was able to head in a corner kick because of sloppy goalkeeping and defending on the part of Nigeria, giving France a 1-0 lead over the Super Eagles.

Nigeria looked deflated after giving up the late goal. It lead to France furthering their lead in the 91st minute, when Joseph Yobo put the ball in his own net to give France a 2-0 lead and put the game out of reach. The goal came off a corner kick, and Nigeria's inability to defend set pieces had plagued them the entire tournament

France's success thus far in the 2014 World Cup is helping French supporters forget the embarrassment of 2010, reports the Daily Mail.

France will now go on to the quarterfinals where they will take on the winner of German-Algeria who play on ESPN at 4:00 p.m., notes CBS Sports.

With Nigeria eliminated, Algeria is the lone African team remaining in the World Cup. They will need to play the game of their lives to pull off the upset over Germany.



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