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France benefits from “PP” vote while African teams say au revoir

France coach Didier Deschamps reaped the benefits of voting “PP” today as 21-year-old rising star Paul Pogba grabbed the decisive goal and produced an assured performance as his team saw off Nigeria 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinal stage.

The Nigerian outfit acquitted itself well but no one—not even team captain and Chelsea Champions League winner John Obi Mikel—could get near to Pogba who strolled around the field with all the self-assurance of computer whiz Bill Gates at a Microsoft office.

Photo: France midfield star Paul Pogba.
Photo: France midfield star Paul Pogba.

It was a bad day for Africa as Algeria also could not find a way past a European powerhouse despite pressing Germany all the way to the closing seconds of stoppage time. The final score read 2-1 in favour of Joachim Löw’s men.

In both cases, it took some spectacular goalkeeping from the two African goalkeepers to keep the scores respectable and there was no shame in defeat.

Nigeria custodian Victor Enyeama often resembled a pile of tin cans at the Mayfair as Frenchmen lined up to send the ball hurtling in his direction. Pogba eventually broke the deadlock with a free header in the 79th minute after Enyeama had deflected a corner beyond the heads of Frenchmen Laurent Koscielny and Blaise Matuidi.

And, to add insult to injury, Enyeama was beaten by his own defender and captain Joseph Yobo for France’s final item in stoppage time. In retrospect, it was a natural progression to the lack of of cover the talented goalkeeper received.

In the day’s second fixture, Algeria gave Germany a sterner tester than the three-time World Cup champion might have expected. Algeria custodian Rais M’Bolhi made a series of brilliant saves to deny Thomas Müller, Philip Lahm, Mesut Özil and Bastian Schweinsteiger; among others.

It was always a matter of time, though, and substitute André Schürrle eventually broke the Algerian resistance, two minutes into extra time, before Özil doubled Germany’s advantage in the 119th minute.

Photo: Germany playmaker Mesut Özil (standing) tries to escape a desperate challenge from Austria midfielder Paul Scharner during a Euro 2012 qualifier. (Copyright AFP 2014/Joe Klamar)
Photo: Germany playmaker Mesut Özil (standing) tries to escape a desperate challenge from Austria midfielder Paul Scharner during a Euro 2012 qualifier.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Joe Klamar)

Seconds later, Algerian substitute Abdelmoumene Djabou got the goal his that team’s performance deserved. But the fat lady was already clearing her throat.

 

Today’s World Cup action

Round of 16

France 2 (Paul Pogba 79, Joseph Yobo OG 91), Nigeria 0

Germany 2 (André Schürrle 92, Mesut Özil 119), Algeria 1 (Abdelmoumene Djabou 121)

 

Star of the Day

France midfielder Paul Pogba’s header for the opening goal was simple enough; and, as he flippantly caressed the ball and stroked passes around, he looked as casual as if he were taking a sweat in the savannah. But don’t let his languid style fool you; the boy is brilliant.

 

Villain of the Day

There were two hard-fought matches today played in a good atmosphere and with a respectful tone between the four nations. Even the officials did a fine job.

So who can Mr Live Wire single out for abuse? Well, maybe it is time to reveal a totally irrational dislike for pocket-size France winger Mathieu Valbuena.

Photo: France attacker Mathieu Valbuena.
Photo: France attacker Mathieu Valbuena.

Valbuena is, admittedly, having a fantastic tournament; yet he always bears the disgusted expression of a man who filled his bowl with milk and then discovered he was out of cereal. Lighten up, little fellah; you’re in the World Cup and France is flying.

Will someone please give Valbuena his Lucky Charms?

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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11 comments

  1. Unlike the Suarez- “Blanka” type move to bite opponents into senselessness, the green men rather electrified in Brazil. A number 22 ranked Algeria almost gave some winning back flips against the number 2 world ranked Germany, but unfortunately, a modest low kick “LK” decided the match.
    The match was a stalemate for the better part of its entirety due to the weakness of Algeria, who played too much in clusters where they kept running into each other, and the Germans who left too much room and wide spaces to link their passes. The singular mistakes of the two teams left for some great excitement.
    It is sad that the game was marred when someone kept blowing a referees whistles when the Germans were threatening or being threatened. This caused a hesitation in players and therefore the first goal.
    One side of the field was poorly prepared and players kept falling and could’ve injured themselves there.
    Thirdly, the referee kept bumping into players and impeding passes.
    On came Khedira and the complexion of the German midfield changed. How important are he, Ramires and De Jong for their respective teams. The second goal came when the defender actually moved for the ball to score. Imagine Germany couldn’t score a sitter! Nonetheless a great game that carried a top five team the distance. The efficient tireless team ‘look real bun.’
    On the French Nigeria side of things, it could have been expected that the goal would have come from a cross (for anyone who read posts on Enyeama’s positioning from other threads). At least someone who rhymes with Drogba reminds us of how punishing on errors is done in that repute.
    French finesse vs German engineering? I’d look forward to see some early brutality in mid-field to settle this one.

  2. Scotty Ranking

    ” …yet he always bears the disgusted expression of a man who filled his bowl with milk and then discovered he was out of cereal.” Ohgyadoye! *ded*

  3. France’s biggest problem to me is Benzema, he mysteriously fades away and that’s a big problem. With respect to skill, depth, tactics, and versatility, France is the best in this World Cup, but that means nothing unless they win the trophy.

  4. France struggled out of possession to day for me. All those Nigerian attacks and corners won’t be going unproductive against a better side at all

  5. Pogba better than Deschamps was. Lol. Deschamps was a good anchor though. They won’t see another Zidane in a hurry. He was special.

  6. They really miss a Zidane and Deschamps in mids

  7. I guess that’s true. I still feel they might lack a little creativity or fire off the bench when they get to the big teams. But they get an A+ so far.
    On form, Colombia and France might be the teams of the tournament so far.

  8. France historically has been good on the defensive side for me.

  9. France has a solid backline. I was impressed with their defensive organisation today.

  10. I just want France beat Germany then they could lose to Argentina lel