John Obi Mikel has accused Olivier Giroud of deliberately elbowing him and believes the Arsenal striker should have been sent off in France’s win over Nigeria.
The incident happened in the 29 minute with the score at 0-0 but American referee Mark Geiger chose not to act and Les Blues ended up reaching the quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory in Brasilia.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi accused the referee of “bias” after his side saw a goal disallowed for offside and midfielder Ogenyi Onazi stretchered off with a suspected broken ankle following a bad tackle from Blaise Matuidi, for which he only received a yellow card.
And Chelsea midfielder Mikel voiced his frustration at his Premier League counterpart, adding: “Yes I got an elbow and the referee saw it and he only gave him a warning, not even a yellow card, nothing. It was bad.
“We know the game – if you see it, act on it. The ref saw it. He did catch me, I don't know if it was too hard but the intention was definitely there.
“I don't think he is a dirty player. Everyone wants to win for his country. He hasn't done those sort of things before so maybe it was just one of those things in the heat of the moment."
France 2 Nigeria 0 player ratings
France 2 Nigeria 0 player ratings
1/23 France: Hugo Lloris
The Tottenham stopper was always there when his country needed him, producing a string of fine saves. 7
2/23 Mathieu Debuchy
The right-back once again seemed more convincing in attack than when defending. 6
3/23 Patrice Evra
A typically steady performance from the Manchester United left-back. 6
4/23 Raphael Varane
Constantly impressive in the air, but the Real Madrid twice lost concentration with balls played in behind the defence. 7
5/23 Laurent Koscielny
Was kept busy by Emenike, but stood up well to the challenge. 6
6/23 Paul Pogba
A little careless at times, but he was dominant in both defence and attack, eventually breaking the deadlock with a 79th minute header. 8
7/23 Blaise Matuidi
A strong performer in midfield, but blotted his copybook with a poor challenge that ended Onazi's game, and was worthy of a red card. 6
8/23 Yohan Cabaye
A quiet game nearly exploded with a stunning volley that struck the crossbar in the second half. 6
9/23 Mathieu Valbuena
At the heart of France's best attacking moments, but his final ball often could have been better. 7
10/23 Olivier Giroud
A physical presence in attack, but this was one of the Arsenal forward's less influential days before his removal around the hour mark. 5
11/23 Karim Benzema
Anonymous until the introduction of Griezmann, but then played his part in a strong French finish. 5
12/23 Antoine Griezmann
The arrival of the Real Sociedad forward turned the game in France's favour. 7
13/23 Nigeria: Vicent Enyeama
Impressed with some theatrical shot-stopping, but was at fault for France's opener. 6
14/23 Efe Ambrose
Distribution let down the Celtic defender on a number of occasions. 5
15/23 Juwon Oshaniwa
Unleashed some thumping tackles early on, but was often caught out by France's quick movement.6
16/23 John Obi Mikel
Struggled with the fluent moving of Valbuena, and failed to dictate play in midfield for the Nigerians. 5
17/23 Joseph Yobo
A landmark fixture for the captain ended with the disappointment of a late own-goal. 6
18/23 Kenneth Omeruo
The youngster again impressed, especially in the air when dealing with Giroud. 7
19/23 Peter Odemwingie
Another inconsistent performance from the Stoke forward. 6
20/23 Ogenyi Onazi
Was tidy while on the pitch, but twice departed on a stretcher, and was unable to recover the second time. 6
21/23 Emmanuel Emenike
A menace up front for Nigeria, and on another day his disallowed first half goal would not have been flagged offside. 7
22/23 Ahmed Musa
Not as much of an attacking threat for the Nigerians in this one, but showed a willingness to get up and down the left flank. 7
23/23 Victor Moses
Often lacked finesse, but showed incredible workrate, not least when clearing off the line from Benzema. 7
He continued: “I thought the referee didn't help us. There were some heavy challenges and I think Onazi has broken his ankle. Challenges like this are bad but it was a 50-50, he just miscaculated, he is not a dirty player.
“We played so well and we were the better side until we let in a goal. We conceded from two set-pieces after we had talked a lot on set-pieces. We were organised until then but we knew the little slip up could be a set-piece.”