World Cup round-up

France overcame a stubborn Nigeria as two goals in the final eleven minutes ended the Super Eagles’ World Cup dreams.

The two nations had matched each other for the majority of the tie – with Nigeria enjoying the better of the opening half – but Paul Pogba’s header and an injury-time own goal from Joseph Yobo sent Les Bleus through to the quarter-finals.

Marseille playmaker Mathieu Valbuena proved to be the key man in the end, providing clever assists for both goals, while substitute Antoine Griezmann made a huge impression as his introduction midway through the second-half saw France’s attack improve immensely.

Both sides started energetically and Ahmed Musa, the Nigeria forward, was unfortunate to see a goal ruled out for offside early on after he did well to re-direct Emmanuel Emenike’s cross beyond Hugo Lloris.

That incident prompted France into action and midfielder Paul Pogba started and finished a superb move which ended with Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama parrying his well-struck volley out for a corner.

France upped the ante again as the game entered the final 20 minutes and took the lead when Enyeama, who had earlier made a string of superb saves, failed to punch clear a corner kick from Valbuena. Pogba took advantage in clinical fashion to head into an empty net after the ball fell kindly to him.

Andre Schuerrle celebrates his extra-time strike

Andre Schuerrle celebrates his extra-time strike

Enyeama was tested again when he tipped Griezmann’s fierce effort over the bar shortly afterwards, but he failed to prevent Yobo from diverting Valbuena’s low cross into the back of his own net as the final whistle loomed.

In the late kick-off, it took extra-time before Germany overcame brave Algeria 2-1 to set-up a mouth-watering clash with the French in the Maracana on Friday. 

The three-time world champions were pushed all the way, and they had goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to thank on several occasions as a combination of shotstopping and fantastic sweeping work kept his side in the game. 

As the second-half wore on Germany upped the tempo, but they failed to find a breakthrough before the full-time whistle as the game entered extra-time.

Less than two minutes into the thirty the deadlock was broken, however, as Andre Schuerrle neatly finished cross a Thomas Muller cross. Mesut Ozil then looked to have added some gloss to the scoreline when he added a second on 119 minutes, but Algeria still kept coming and grabbed a lifeline as Abdelmoumene Djabou pulled a goal back.

It was too little too late though as their brave effort came to no avail.