Good afternoon, sports obsessives. Today sees the continuation of the second round of the 2014 World Cup, with France, who were perhaps the most impressive team of the group stages of the competition, taking on Nigeria for a place in the quarter finals of the competition. You can catch up with what is going on both in Brazil and my living room from just before five.
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And c’est ca!!! Entertaining, although the competition’s goal-per-game ratio continues to edge downwards. France impressive, especially after Giroud came off (“the obvious change” – Ferdinand).
The talk in Abuja and Lagos etc… will probably be about the bonus stand-off, especially after the team missed a training session and tired early here. Nigeria have had a midway-decent tournament. But that won’t be the narrative back home.
France might well be favourites against Algeria OR Germany. And Ian will hear Le Marseillaise again. Everybody’s happy, then. Au revoir, mes amis.
“Griezmann seals the deal” as he reacts from a quick free-kick. Except that it a Yobo own goal from a quick corner. Yobo’s loan spell at Norwich won’t get another citation. Deux-zero and deserved. Keshi’s up for a booting back home.
Uche Nwofor, the “hero of Craven Cottage” comes on for…nothing like long enough. A minute plus five stoppage. Keshi’s up for a booting back home if they don’t get an equaliser.
As Enyeama beats away a Greismann effort, a France/Algeria quarter-final looms (though possibly not for Giroud at first). The TV build-ups to THAT should be interesting. “The past relationship between the nations…er…”
More goals in Brazil than “in the whole of South Africa put together and we are still in the second round,” notes Brotherton. Impressive but not QUITE as impressive as it sounds – there’s been 53 of the 64 games after all.
And after Benzema has a header saved, Pogba dink-heads the resultant corner home. Not a great punch by Eynyeama but the goal was a matter of time. I said that about Greece last night. But I’m right this time, at last.
In the crowd, a bespectacled fifty-something with a red white and blue Mohican who is going to feel mighty daft walking away from this match if France get beat. But France are getting closer and closer, Cabaye off the bar with a 25-yard screamer. Woooh. Or Zut alors, if my French O’Level memories serve (32 years ago, mind, and I got an “O” at A-level too).
Meanwhile, Luis Suarez has apologised at long last. Linguistic contortion to the fore. But he confesses.
Benzema an inch from scoring after a great 1-2 with Griezmann. Victor Moses…VICTOR MOSES…clears off the line – as the GLT eventually confirms. Moses’ work seen as proof that the Nigerian bonus row wasn’t up to much after all.
Odemwingie hits Lloris’s chest from distance and, since Onazi went off its been all NIgeria. Ish. Game should be “getting stretched any…minute…now… if Ma Tweedy isn’t sent off first – a couple of meaty challenges since his booking.
Griezmann on for Giroud. Any chance of a camera shot of Martin Keown right NOW??
Reuben Gabriel on for the stretchered off Onazi, and Kilmarnock’s World Cup can begin at last…
Onazi in the proverbial wars again as Ma Tweedy stands on his ankle from a great height. He’s booked and might be un peu lucky
Deuxieme half. And Benzema’s looking a bit central to me. Hope so.
Sounds like Martin Keown wants Giroud to come off to let Benzema play at centre-forward but he’s quick to defend him when Murphy notes, accurately, that Giroud “isn’t that easy on the eye when he’s playing well.” Keown’s Arsenal freebies playing on his mind?
Lineker thinks Pogba’s been rubbish, a view nicely rubbished by the other pundits.
Then new replays show that Nigeria’s goal was onside. And they ARE new replays. He was a leg offside in the originals, honest.
Before the pundits get into this game, I think its been a good ‘un, the pace only – understandably – dropping late on. Someone should have scored. And someone will.
Emineke’s long range shot twirls through the air like a Jabulani. The Doctor looks pained as he makes a good save.
Evra holding on tight to Odemwingie at a corner. Simon Brotherton suggests that Evra “won’t be allowed to do that again.” So why was he allowed to do it now?
Ooof. Debuchy shoots wide – everyone’s low-key about it but it looked a very good chance.
Pogba’s on his game today. Has Alex Ferguson got a twitter feed?
The roof is closed so they’re now back out on Centre Court. How will this affect the Nigerian game plan?
Early suggestions are that Nigeria missed the day’s training which covered “what to do when the near-post corner doesn’t work.”
David Tennant – the best of the goalkeeping Doctor Whos – looking good for France this afternoon. Pogba denied a goal of the tournament candidate by Enyeama’s save. Spine-tickling stuff…
Emineke scores but is offside by the leg with which he diverted the ball over the line.
They won my favourite second round game that year too. The 1-0 extra-time win over a Paraguay team who just wouldn’t get out of the way for 118 minutes. Even Chilavert, Paraguay’s motor-mouth keeper – booked for time wasting after 19 minutes – was admirable that day…
Onazi gets a…erm…Mexican wave of sympathy for his injury…
This was the French team that beat Brazil 3-0 to win the 1998 World Cup Final: Barthez; Thuram, Desailly, Leboeuf, Lizarazu; Deschamps, Petit, Karembeu (Boghossian 57); Zidane, Djorkaeff (Vieira 74); Guivarc’h (Dugarry 66).
That WON THE WORLD CUP.
NIgeria’s shirts much more of a clash with a pitch than they would have been with France’s dark blue. But, hey, FIFA knows best. Allez les blancs it is…
I could never stop thinking “The Beef” when Frank Leboeuf got…and usually quickly lost…possession
France have been excellent in this World Cup but I still miss Christophe Dugarry and Stephane Guivarc’h. And Bernard Lama.
Cracking early run by Ma Tweedy for France.
(Murray leads Anderson 6-4, *3-0. By the way).
The draw has fallen nicely for me, I have to say. If Germany – Algeria had been the early kick-off I’d have been in a major quandary. Nigeria have been marginally less entertaining than Greece so far, however, so I’m less fussed. However, it’s just started to rain at Wimbledon so I’m golden for 30 minutes until they close the roof.
Hello, sports fans. I’m watching the tennis. This is going to make my predictions for this game extra-insightful.
And as “O little town of Bethlehem” (or the “Nigerian national anthem” as they call it these days) rings out around Brasilia, I’ll give Ian a hand, if he wants it.
France win the anthems battle. Again. As they always will, now Italy are out.