France takes on Nigeria in the early match on Monday afternoon. France cruised through the group stages with 2 commanding victories and a dull draw while Nigeria came in second behind Argentina with a 1-1-1 record.
France v Nigeria – Monday, June 30 @ 12pm
France probably could have done better in the group stages, but decided to rest players for their final match knowing that they were a lock on the top spot in the group. Still, they finished with 7 points from 2 wins and a draw while also amassing a +6 goal difference. It really could have been more but the 2 goals they allowed against Switzerland came at a time when the match was wrapped up and they had let up.
Nigeria were somewhat fortunate to be in a group that included Iran and first timers Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were surprisingly resolute in defense, having allowed just the 3 goals against Argentina in their final match.
My prediction is a France win. While Nigeria showed defensive solidity in the group stages, they didn’t fare so well against higher quality competition, which is what France will be. Still, the knockout rounds can produce anything. It just takes one moment of brilliance to change a match and Nigeria does have the attacking players to do just that. The longer that Nigeria can hold on, the more confidence they can gain. It is possible they could get a win or even push for penalties.
Possible Starting Lineups:
France (4-3-3): Lloris; Evra, Sakho, Varane, Debuchy; Pogba, Matuidi, Cabaye; Griezmann, Benzema, Valbuena
Nigeria (4-2-3-1): Enyeama; Oshaniwa, Oboabona, Omeruo, Ambrose; Mikel, Onazi; Musa, Azeez, Odemwingie; Emenike