Brasilia, Brazil (4E Sports) – France booked a spot in the quarterfinal round of the World Cup after beating Nigeria, 2-0, in their last 16 clash Sunday at Estadio Nacional.
Paul Pogba scored in the 79th minute while an own goal by Jospeh Yobo in stoppage time allowed Les Blues to advance to the quarterfinal against either Germany or Algeria.
The last five times that France have taken part in the knockout stages of the World Cup, they have reached the semifinals or better.
The African nation entered the match under the cloud of a dispute over bonus payments with the Nigeria Football Federation, but Stephen Keshi’s men played a full part in an entertaining goalless first half.
Nigeria’s pace-and-drive in attack left France disorganized early on and when Olivier Giroud hacked over from Karim Benzema’s 15th-minute pass, it marked a rare moment of encouragement for Didier Deschamps’ team.
Emmanuel Emenike thought he put Nigeria ahead but he was whistled for a marginal offside call in the 19th minute, while a stunning stop by Vincent Enyeama prevented Pogba from volleying France in front in the 23rd minute.
A drop in tempo around the half-hour mark clearly suited France, but Mathieu Debuchy could not capitalize when a patient spell of possession sent a half-chance his way.
Peter Odemwingie tested Lloris with a 65th-minute drive that bounced awkwardly while France blew a scoring chance with 20 minutes left when Enyeama partially blocked an attempt by Benzema.
However, Enyeama later erred from Valbuena’s resulting corner as France took the lead behind Yogba.