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World Cup Betting Tips: France vs Nigeria
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ROUND OF 16 

Monday 30th June 2014
13:00 LOC
Estadio Nacional
Brasilia, Brazil

Previous Meetings
02/06/2009 France 0-1 Nigeria Friendly

Temperature: 27c
Weather: Hot and sunny
Pitch: Good
Travel: One hour flight (France) & One hour & ten minute flight (Nigeria)
Distance: 655km (France) & 916km (Nigeria)

France

• France expected to line-up in their usual 4-3-3 formation.
• Cabaye returns from suspension and will start; Sakho (centre-back) is the only injury doubt.
• Mood in the camp is excellent after impressive qualification as Group E winners.

Unavailable Doubtful Returning
None Sakho – CB – 50% Cabaye – CM – Suspended

Team News
The only injury concern for France coach Didier Deschamps is Sakho. The Liverpool centre-back has a thigh strain and is rated only 50-50 to be available. Should Sakho be unable to start, Koscielny will come in as the second centre-back alongside Varane. There is virtually no difference in quality between Sakho and Koscielny so this is a minor
issue. Debuchy and Evra should return in the full-back positions after being rested for France’s final group game against Ecuador.

In midfield, Cabaye returns after missing the Ecuador game through suspension. His experience and quality will be vital in front of the back four. Schneiderlin, who deputised, will stand down. As usual Matuidi will line-up as the shuttle-runner in the left midfield position. In the third and final midfield position, coach Deschamps has a big decision
to make: Pogba or Sissoko? The former is the more naturally gifted but Newcastle United man Sissoko has impressed with his athleticism and tactical discipline. This is a 50-50 call.

In attack Valbuena will be recalled after being rested against Ecuador. His energy and mobility on the right wing will be vital. The other two attacking positions are likely to go to Benzema and Giroud after the pair excelled against Switzerland (5-2 win). There is a small chance Griezmann will start ahead of Giroud, but Giroud was so good against
Switzerland he is the favourite for the third and final attacking position. Benzema is an automatic choice.

Expected Team (4-3-3)

 

Tactical Keys to the Game:
 France coach Didier Deschamps favours a 4-3-3 formation and there is likely to be no change here. The side has looked extremely comfortable and well-balanced in this shape.
 The mobility and understanding between the front three will be absolutely vital. If he starts on the left wing Benzema will have the freedom to move infield and swap positions with Giroud, who often popped up on the left wing in France’s 5-2 win over Switzerland. This movement will make the France attackers very difficult to pin down.
 Runners from midfield have been another key feature of France’s play. Matuidi has already scored and got into scoring positions on several other occasions. Pogba completed more passes (30) in the final third than any other player at the tournament v Ecuador (0-0). Look out for those two and/or Sissoko (who has also scored) getting forward.

Motivational Keys to the Game:
 The mood in the France camp has been excellent since before the tournament began and that remains the case. Media reports from the team base are very positive about the atmosphere.
 The performances of France’s substitutes are a further sign of the excellent mood. The players that came into the side when Deschamps rotated against Ecuador (0-0) had a first-class attitude even though the standard of the France performance was average. It all points towards a sense of harmony and unity among the players.

Nigeria

• Forced into a change in midfield with Babatunde fracturing his wrist in the Argentina game.
• Players not happy with bonus structure offered and the federation having to sort the issue out.
• Pace and energy on the counter attack will be their main threat to the French defence.

Unavailable Doubtful Returning
Babatunde – LM/AM – Injury Moses – RW/LW – 40% None

Team News
Nigeria will be forced into making a change with Babatunde ruled out due to a fractured wrist suffered when he was struck by a shot from his own teammate Ogenyi Onazi at the Argentina goal in the last group match. He wasn’t an expected starter at the tournament but had given a couple of decent performances since coming into the
team for the match against Bosnia.How they replace Babatunde is the main dilemma they have in terms of team selection. Victor Moses has apparently been struggling with a minor injury though there are reports the coach is not happy with his lack of tracking back and it seems he may be on the bench if this is the case. There is a strong possibility that Azeez may be recalled and they will play in a 4-3-3 formation that they started the tournament with, this may make the central midfield more solid defensively. More clues may come out in training though.

In central defence Yobo kept his place in the team ahead of Oboabona and again did a reasonable job. Although Yobo might be favourite to start his match, there is always the chance of Oboabona coming back into the team depending on how Yobo’s aging legs stand up to playing another game in quick succession.
Expected Team (4-3-3)

Tactical Keys to the Game: 

 Nigeria may be able to cause problems for the French defence with their pace and power in attack. Ahmed Musa showed how dangerous he can be against Argentina, his pace a tremendous asset and also proving a goal threat scoring twice. Emenike upfront is a great outlet with his pace, work rate and power, these two players will have a big part to play for Nigeria, especially if the match opens up.

 Giving away needless free-kicks and defending set-pieces/corners needs to improve. They are capable of some poor
organisation and marking from set-pieces which was in evidence during their last match.

Motivational Keys to the Game:
 There have been some potential problems with the bonuses affecting the build-up to the game. Nigeria were due to have the day off after the Argentina game but the coaches planned training. The players are aggrieved about the bonus structure and decided not to train. This is expected to be resolved by the federation but not ideal preparation, there
may be further news closer to the game.

 Despite the players stance there is a lot of pride in making the knockout stages and they are looking forward to facing France. Certainly some of the players want to impress any watching clubs to earn a big transfer deal.
 Coach Keshi has become the first African born coach to lead Nigeria into the knockout stages of the World Cup which is considered a great achievement.

Preview

The market gives Nigeria little hope of reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup with France no bigger than 1.25 to progress to the last eight.

France were brilliant in their opening two games and could afford to rotate their squad in their goalless draw with Ecuador in their final game as progression to the knockout phase as Group Winners was all-but confirmed before the match. As group winners they avoided Argentina which is great in the short term for Didier Deschamps side but they find themselves in the top-half crowded with a vast array of South American talent and the formidable Germans. Stretching back to Euro 1996, France have a fantastic knockout record. They’ve lost just two of 16 matches with six victories in 90 minutes with 12 Under 2.5 Goals matches (including their last four). This squad is much more attacking than previous French sides – despite their 0-0 against Ecuador only the Netherlands and
Colombia scored more than France’s tally of eight in the group stage – and they’ve now netted at least three times in eight of their past 12 internationals. France have won four of their last five matches against teams ranked 16-35 and, impressively, all of the successes have been by three clear goals.

Nigeria can probably count themselves as the luckiest team to make it to the Last 16. They were awful in a goalless draw with Iran in their opener and they benefited from some very dubious officiating calls in their 1-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Golden Eagles looked at their best in the game they lost – a 3-2 defeat to Argentina – as they twice came back from losing positions to tie the game before succumbing when their progression to the Last 16 looked secure. This is Nigeria’s first appearance in the second round since 1998 and they are yet to reach the quarter-finals. They’ve lost seven of their last 11 World Cup matches in 90 minutes and they are winless in their last seven games against teams ranked 1-15 in which they’ve conceded at last twice on six occasions.

Since 1986, there have been just six knockout matches between European and African sides. The European side has been the higher-ranked side on each occasion but has won just two of the games in 90 minutes although they’ve eventually progressed in five of the matches. In 136 previous knockout matches between teams with a similar Football Form Lab grading difference (11-25 points) the higher-ranked side has won 51% of the matches in 90 minutes while 32% have gone to extra-time. 58% of these matches have had Under 2.5 Goals as have 59% of Last 16 games generally since the World Cup changed to its current format in Mexico 86.

France could run riot here but they look too short to do so.

Tip: Under 2.5 @ $2.05 Screenshot 2014-05-21 12.49.05

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