World Cup 2014: France vs Nigeria – strengths, weaknesses and key men
A look ahead to the Last 16 encounter between these sides
Friday 27 June 2014
Coach Didier Deschamps spoke of “collective state of mind” before the tournament and has a well-balanced, happy squad, which France have not had for many years, even at the cost of individual brilliance.
There are still doubts about the make-up of the back four, with Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho often clumsy on the ball and Newcastle’s Mathieu Debuchy prone to jumping into risky tackles.
Karim Benzema has been excellent so far, scoring three times – with another ruled as an own-goal and one more coming just after the final whistle against Switzerland. He is in the form of his life.
As they showed against Argentina, Nigeria are dangerous on the break with the strength of Emmanuel Emenike and the ruthlessness of Ahmed Musa. Given space they could catch France out.
The complete failure to unpick a limited Iran side in the first game, and the grumblings with coach Stephen Keshi, show a side who can still struggle when the pressure is on them to win.
Ahmed Musa was one of the stars of Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations win and his two goals against Argentina show a forward who can burst through any defence as well as an assured finisher.
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