Tuesday, July 1, 2014

World Cup 2014 France vs Nigeria 2-0

It was an interesting match, France against Nigeria, where it stayed neck on neck till the 79th minute of the game, when a moment's slip up by arguably one of the best goalkeeper of this tournament, France took the decisive lead. Minutes later it was 2-0 & all over the bar shouting for Nigeria.....they looked crest fallen....a dream lost again.
In fact, for the better part of the match, Nigeria looked in command. They had the better of the exchanges & in the 18th minute, Emenike had deftly toed the ball into the net from a Musa floater, but linesman pulled up the flag for offside....replays showing that it was a marginal decision, that could have gone either way....had this been awarded a goal, the post match story could have been different. Nigeria looked the stronger team, more purposeful & intent, while France seemed to be sleep walking, but for a few counter attacks. Benzema looked off colour & so did Giroud, Vaibuena & others upfront. Pogba & Matuidi in midfield were trying their best, but somehow the combination was missing.
Just when the match looked to be heading towards a dull draw & extra time, from nowhere, there was a spurt in the French forward line, as Griezmann, coming in place of Giroud led the attack along with Valbuena & the Nigerian defense came under some serious attack. Enyeama, under the bar made some breathtaking saves to keep Nigeria in the fight, but intense pressure of the French attack got to him & he made probably his only mistake of the match. As a corner was floated in, Enyeama misjudged the flight & could only palm the ball & Pogba standing free, happily headed the ball into the empty net... 1-0. The goal, crushed the Nigerian spirit & the Super Eagles looked distraught. They simply gave up & from there on, it was only one team winning. Though the Nigerian goalkeeper, made another brilliant save & tried to raise the tempo of his players, it was not to be & as the fourth ref flashed another 5 minutes of extra time, the second goal came by. Off another needless corner conceded by Odemwingie, Valbuena tapped the ball inside the box to Griezmann, & Yobo, in an attempt to clear came in between the goalkeper & scrambled the ball in for an own goal. It certainly was the final nail in the coffin. The Super Eagles, having played so wonderfully, once again fell short of making it to the last eight. France, who looked under a trance for the major part of the match, came to their own self when in mattered the most & scored in the last 11-12 minutes to get over the line. A really tough match indeed for them. It will surely make them feel more comfortable in the next round & they would believe in their chances from here on.