Although France haven’t won the game against Ecuador (finished 0-0) it was a somewhat easy encounter for them.
They had most of the possession and at no time they looked in real danger of conceding. Maybe this is why they took things a bit lightly and failed to score. Also Ecuador got a red card early in the second half and concentrated all forces in defense, especially since they needed the draw to qualify from the group stage.
Given they were already qualified coach Deschamps also decided to rest some important players. Against Nigeria all of them will return to the lineup, central midfielder Cabaye who was suspended, central defender Varane, fullbacks Debuchy and Evra and winger Valbuena.
There’s an abundance of optimistic statements coming from French players who are determined to go all the way and win the tittle. It is still early in the tournament but nevertheless this is proof of their ambition and motivation.
Nigeria appeared rock solid in defense in the first two games when they haven’t conceded any goal, especially thanks to the great reflexes of keeper Enyeama. But their vulnerability surfaced against Argentina when it was clearly visible Enyeama has problems in defending against close range shots. Enyeama plays for Lille and this situation was already analyzed during the season, so those of you who are regular readers already knew about Enyeama’s difficulties in concentrating when it comes to short range attempts.
Just like Argentina, France likes to constantly push the game forward and get as close as possible to the opponents’ goal before trying to score. And why shouldn’t they, since the 3 central midfielders are very creative and always surprise with through balls that put striker Benzema in advantage. Not only from the center, but danger is created also from the flank, where Valbuena after a shy performance against Honduras was in top form against Switzerland, delivered and assist and scored.
It will be a nightmare for Enyeama and Nigerian defenders to cope with France’s offensive power.
From an attacking point of view Nigeria have only one in-form player, winger Musa who has good ball control and shooting skills and managed to score twice against Argentina. But besides him there was nobody else capable of posing any decent threats.
While French players have their mind set on winning the title, Nigerian players almost entered a strike for not receiving the bonuses promised after finishing 2nd in the group. That must say a lot about dedication and confidence…
Nigeria will be without winger Babatunde who suffered an injury and is ruled out.
This game should be one sided with France in full control from the beginning and capable of securing a comfortable victory. France -1.25 at 2.20