FIFA 2014 Round of 16 Predictions: Match #53 France vs. Nigeria

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | June 27, 2014 11:14 AM EST

Final Score

France 2 Nigeria 0

REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
France's Karim Benzema reacts after missing a chance to score against Ecuador during their 2014 World Cup Group E soccer match at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro June 25, 2014.

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Overview

Match number 53 is the fifth match of the knock-out stages.  France won 2 matches and drew 1 to collect 7 points to finish on top of Group E. Nigeria, on the other hand, won 1 match and drew 1 to collect 4 points to finish second in Group F.

Teams

France: France's performance in group stages was quite impressive. This is especially significant because there were several big European teams which failed to perform well in the tournament. Spain, Italy, England and Croatia failed to qualify for the "Round of 16" while France, which had a poor run at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has been brilliant. France scored 8 goals in its first 2 matches. Karim Benzema has been playing well, scoring 3 goals in the first two matches. The third match, however, was a striking contrast of its first two matches. The match against Ecuador ended in a goalless draw even though France had numerous opportunities to score. There could have been 8-9 goals in the second half itself but there seemed to be a strange French inability to score. As we go to the knock-out stage, France needs to get back to its goal scoring approach.

Nigeria: Nigeria won against Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 and had a goalless draw against Iran to collect 4 points. However, its best performance came against Argentina even though it lost it 2-3. Historically, the African team has an uncanny tendency of being in Argentina's group. Its best performance often comes against the South American team. Nigeria played excellent football and scored goals soon after Argentina did. Vincent Enyeama, the Nigerian goalkeeper who was the man of the match in 2010 world cup match against Argentina, played brilliantly again and denied several goals. Ahmed Musa was fabulous in scoring two brilliant goals to match Lionel Messi. Nigeria has all the fire power to match France if it manages to stay organised.

Head to Head

These two teams played only once times against each other before. Nigeria scored 1 goal to win the match.

Key Players

France: Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko

Nigeria: Vincent Enyeama and Ahmed Musa

Date, Time & Venue

Brazil's time zone is UTC/GMT -3. The match starts at 1 pm (local time) on June 30, which means it is 2 am on July 1 in New South Wales, Australia. The match will be held at Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília.

Prediction

Even though Nigeria will match France well, it will be difficult for the African team to stop the European giant which is going to score more. France will win it 3-1.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares / )
France's Karim Benzema reacts after missing a chance to score against Ecuador during their 2014 World Cup Group E soccer match at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro June 25, 2014.
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