Nigeria will go into today’s game against France as clear underdogs. Nigeria have scored three goals and conceded three in the tournament while France have scored at will in the world cup scoring 8 goals and conceding just two with Benzema seemingly in the form of his life.
For France, their ability to change the pace of the game when they get in their opponents’ half will be an asset to them as Nigeria are generally slow to getting back to defensive shape. Mikel’s lack of pace might also be an added advantage. Boosted by the return of Yohan Cabaye, the French midfield would work like it always has a fine mix up of tough tackling precise passing and bustling energy. Valbuena’s pace would be very handy in testing the Nigerian full backs and if Benzema continues to pick up deadly positions as he has all tournament, this match might be a walk in the park for les Blues.
For Nigeria, this is a match that requires the very best performance from every section. Yobo must keep a keen eye on Benmzema while Omeru (who is the pacier of the two) can look to kill build ups before they enter the box. The wingers Osaze and Musa must track back to stop Debuchy and Evra getting crosses in as Benzema is a major threat in the air. Nigeria must not give away needless fouls as Sakho and Koscielny can punish set pieces. Greizmann and Valbuena would be a handful for the Nigerian defense and Babatunde and Onazi must double up on the French Midfielders in order to create space for Mikel to pass the ball. Mikel must inject a lot of pace in his game and for all Emenike’s industry, He must produce end results while Osaze and Musa would look to get in behind the French full backs and put the ball into the box.
Nigeria must be at their best to overcome the French hurdle if they are to progress and the French must avoid complacence against a Nigerian side that has a knack for beating European teams in the world cup