Les Bleus have advanced through to the Semi-Final after a convincing last 30 minutes, after Nigeria dominated yet were denied chances throughout the match.
In this case it was the latter, as Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama stood tall for the vast majority of the game, yet fatally lapsed in the second half.
Nigeria’s Victor Moses and Ahmed Musa provided sweltering pace on the wings, as Peter Odemwingie was given license to control the extent of the midfield, patrolling the space behind Striker Emmanuel Emenike with beautiful precision.
Nigeria played like the underdogs they were, in attempts to create a utopian Disney-esque ending to a fairytale world cup campaign so far.
They very nearly took the lead and were unfortunate not to be ahead at half time.
A free-kick near to the half, surprisingly one of the only ones referee Mark Geiger decided to award, was cleverly directed towards France’s near post by Ahmed Musa.
Emenike then deftly cushioned his finish between Hugo Lloris and the post.
Celebrating as if they had already won the cup, Nigeria’s hopes of taking a crucial lead were dashed, as the Fenerbache striker was offside by the smallest of margins.
Frenchman Olivier Giroud looked out of place all game, and could have possibly been sent home early for a rash elbow to the head of Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel.
The first half, although entertaining, saw a 0-0 scoreline.
The second half saw France wrestle control from Nigeria as Real Sociedad’s Antoine Greizmann replaced the struggling Giroud, and launched his claim for a starters’ role.
The striker joined a menacing front line of “three muskateers” consisting of Mathieu Valbuena and Kareem Benzema, who at one stage was released by Greizmann and nearly slid a shot past a stunned Enyeama.
Enyeama was delivering a stunning goal keeping performance, but as previously mentioned it takes one lapse for it all to come crashing down.
This lapse occurred in the 79th minute as Valbuena delivered a stunning cross into the penalty area, which Enyeama instinctively attacked.
He was only able to palm the ball onto the waiting head of Paul Pogba however, who gratefully collected it on his head and into an empty net.
Enyeama tried to redeem himself with a fantastic save on Benzema late, yet Nigeria’s advancement was thwarted again through a Greizmann lob, which Joseph Yobo accidentally netted into his own net in the 92nd minute.
France will now face Germany, who took down Algeria 2-1 in extra time in their Round of 16 clash, in an all-European Quarter Final blockbuster.
Written by TJ Buttery, Follow @TimothyButtery