2014 World Cup Round of 16: France vs Nigeria

2014 FIFA World Cup – Round of 16
France vs Nigeria

Estádio Nacional de Brasília – Brasília, Brazil
Monday, June 30, 2014, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision
Money Line: Nigeria +675 / France -220 / Draw +340
Point Line: France -1 -135 / Nigeria +1 +115
Total: over 3 -110 / under 3 -110
Odds to advance to quarterfinals: France -500 / Nigeria +400
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker

America East Tournament Preview
France is favored to beat Nigeria in the round of 16 Monday in the World Cup.

After a disappointing exit from the 2010 World Cup where France didn’t even make it out of their group in South Africa, the came to Brazil in 2014 seeking redemption. They got it by winning their group and now France will take on Nigeria in the round of 16 Monday in Brasilia. The winner will take on either Germany or Algeria in the quarterfinals Friday.

France is making their 15th appearance in the World Cup. They won it in 1998 in their home country, and were the runner ups to Italy in 2006 in Germany. France was drawn into Group E along with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras. France opened with convincing wins over Honduras 3-0 and Switzerland 5-2 to clinch a spot in the knockout round. They only needed a point against Ecuador last Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro to secure first place in the group, and they played to a scoreless draw. France rested a lot of starters as they had pretty much wrapped up the group title.

Nigeria is making their fifth appearance in the World Cup since 1994, missing only in 2006. They made it to the knockout round in 1994 and 1998 but were eliminated in the group stage in 2002 and 2010. Nigeria was drawn into Group F at the World Cup along with Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iran. Argentina won the group with one goal victories over each of their foes. Nigeria opened with a scoreless draw against Iran, before beating Bosnia 1-0 and losing to Argentina 3-2 last Wednesday in Porto Alegre. Nigeria finished second in the group with 4 points, and was assured of their spot in the round of 16 when Bosnia beat Iran 3-1 in the last match.

Nigeria won the only previous meeting against France 1-0 in 2009 in a friendly on the road. The win against Bosnia was the only win for Nigeria in the last 11 World Cup matches. Nigeria seeks to become only the fourth African team to make the quarters. France has made it to the semifinals in the last five times they qualified for the knockout stage.

France is coached by Didier Deschamps who captained the team that won the 1998 World Cup. France will use a 4-3-3 formation. Forward Karim Benzema has 3 goals and 2 assists so far for France. All three goals came against Honduras Olivier Giroud has a goal and an assist. Forward Mathieu Valbuena also has a goal and an assist. Defender Mamadou Sakho is doubtful with a thigh injury. Keeper Hugo Lloris has allowed 2 goals in three games.

France is outscoring teams 8-2 in the World Cup so far. France has 6 open play goals and 2 set piece goals. All 8 France goals have come inside the box. France has attempted a staggering 62 shots with 39 on target. They have completed 25 of 80 crosses and been flagged for offsides only 4 times. France has 8 blocks and 6 saves. They ahve won 7 of 31 tackles. France has completed 1,467 passes.

Nigeria is coached by Stephen Keshi. Nigeria will use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Nigeria will be without midfielder Michel Babatunde who broke his arm against Argentina. Forward Victor Moses and defender Godrey Oboabona are both doubtful with injuries. Forward Ahmed Musa has 2 goals for Nigeria. Peter Odemwingie and Emmanuel Emenike are also both quality forwards. Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama kept clean sheets against Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but gave up three goals against high powered Argentina.

Nigeria has scored 3 goals and allowed 3 goals as well. All three goals scored for Nigeria were open play. The Super Eagles have 42 shots with 26 on target. Nigeria has completed 12 of 57 crosses and been called offsides 4 times. Nigeria has 17 saves and 6 blocks. They have won 15 of 62 tackles. Nigeria has completed 1,071 passes.

Forget the game against Ecuador when France rested a lot of key starters. France decimated the defenses of both Honduras and Switzerland to the tune of 8 goals in those two matches. The defense has been stellar except for the last 10 minutes of the Switzerland match when they fell asleep and allowed two goals. That game was well decided though at that point. Nigeria played well against Argentina, and will likely lay back against France and look to counterstrike. France should dominate possession against Nigeria. I think Les Bleus win 2-1 to advance to the quarters where a showdown with rival Germany could await.

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