France v Nigeria - World Cup R16 match preview

Today in Brasilia France and Nigeria will play their 2014 World Cup round of 16 match. The Nigerians have managed to progess from group F with Argentina winning the group and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iran left behind. France topped the tricky group E with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

France has shown two faces so far, one of them was scoring easily and dominating the opponent completely, and the other one was pretty solid but with the uncanny ability to be toothless in offense. France are capable of constantly being in the penalty box and still have trouble creating a goalscoring chance which is better than those which are routinely cleared by any defence. However, once France start rolling they are unstoppable, or at least they were against Switzerland and against ten-man Honduras. Despite the absence of Franck Ribery, France are strong and are looking like one of the top sides in this tournament.

Nigeria haven't played well so far, and only the victory against the run of play against Bosnia got them here in the first knockout stage match. They have failed to beat Iran and they lost to Argentina. Nigeria are definitely not the best African side - Ghana, Ivory Coast and Algeria are all better but Nigeria have managed to progress through the group stage for the first time since 1998.

Nigeria seem to be a pretty slow team, not too competent in defence either, but their forwards are quite good and the direct-passing African football style can cause problems to many teams. However, this team is lacking creativity and is not one of those African sides that possess cunningness that few teams can respond to. Nigeria score goals through sheer physical strength of their forwards.

France love to control matches and they can be expected to do the same in this one, and this team is tactically perfect. They were expected to have problems with scoring but this team is actually quite the opposite as they're managing to keep the opponent in check with clever passes and constant threat. France are one good team, with Paul Pogba being the best player and Karim Benzema coming in at close second. The others are quite good but not world class players, and they're doing their job properly so Pogba and Benzema can excel.

This is a perfectly winnable match for France. They'll have to prove their status as favorites and then prepare for the quarter-finals, where they'll likely face Germany.

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