Round of 16
A 21-year-old midfielder Paul Pogba headed the goal that would break deadlock, and eventually end up being the winning goal for France against Nigeria, which would lead them to the quarterfinals.
Byline: Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
BRASILIA– The sun might have been shinning to bright on les Bleus, they entered the match as heavy favorites against the Super Eagles of Nigeria, but the game was tied at 0-0 until Pogba took advantage of a rare mistake from the Nigerian defense and scored the winning goal for France at the 79 minute on Monday morning.
The star of last summer Under-20 World Cup a year later scored a crucial goal for the senior national team of France. A set piece came flying in from the left hand side of the field, Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama went in the air to punch the ball, but he missed punched the ball, and it floated right to an open Pogba.
The young French midfielder then headed the ball into the back of the net finally giving France the lead with only 11 minutes in the match. The Nigerian defense had almost played a perfect defensive game,
“To score a goal for your country,” Pogba told FIFA.com after the game. “Especially in such an important game as this, to get into the last eight of the World Cup, is one of the best moments of my life.”
The match did not come easy for the blues, because Nigeria nearly took the lead at the 19 minute of the match, forward Emmanuel Emenike toe poke goal was disallowed, by the sideline referee because it appeared that his arm was off sides. After that chance, Nigeria would counter for the rest of the game.
However, Pogba would almost get on the score sheet at the 22 minute. The crafty midfielder ran down the field with the ball, finally dished out to Mathieu Valbuena. Pogba continued his run into the box, and Valbuena centered the ball to heart of the penalty box, where Pogba would be at.
The 21-year-old midfielder would take a powerful volley shot but Enyeama was able to react on time and stop the ball from entering the back of the net.
In the second half, the French picked up the pace and continued to pressure the Nigerian defense and they were forcing Enyeama to continue making save after save, he would end up making four saves to keep Nigeria tied at zero and alive.
However, Pogba goal would break the dead lock, and in the 91 minute Super Eagles defender Jospeh Yobo own goal would seal the 2-0 victory for France. A match that Les Bleus dig dip to win the game, and Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel was not discouraged after their defeat against France.
“Honestly, I don’t think that we should be feeling bad right now,” Mikel told FIFA.com, after the defeat against France, which eliminated the Super Eagles from the World Cup. “We’ve had a great tournament and today we showed the whole world just what we’re capable of, even when up against a great team.”
The French will now be facing Germany in the quarterfinals on Friday, July the fourth at Rio De Janeiro at the famous Maracanã.
Highlights to this video can be seen on this link http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=intl:1923879, video provided by ESPN FC.