After France’s 2-0 victory over Nigeria in their last 16 clash earlier today, we take a look at each individual Les Bleus player, giving them a ranking out of 10 and a comment about their performance. Next for Les Bleus is a quarter final against Algeria or Germany.
Hugo Lloris – 7
Was not forced into doing an awful lot, but everything he had to do he did convincingly and comfortably. A very important steadying influence at the back for France, who will certainly have more to do in the coming matches.
Mathieu Debuchy – 7
Had a lot of desire in the game, and was never afraid to go forwards, but often his final product was lacking. However, this was one of his less erratic defensive displays in a France shirt.
Raphael Varane – 7.5
Was completely assured at the back, but his partnership with Koscielny does lack a little leadership, which Mamadou Sakho provides. Only caught out in one instance for the disallowed goal, but was not punished due to the offside flag.
Laurent Koscielny – 7
You could tell he was understandably a little nervous at the beginning of the game, but he was assured in dealing with a potentially threatening Nigerian attack. Needs to try to be a little more vocal on the pitch.
Patrice Evra – 5.5
Was a real worry in the first half, when Victor Moses was all over him in the early stages. Also debatably played Emenike onside for the disallowed goal, but did improve in the second half. Will have to be much better in the quarter final.
Yohan Cabaye – 7.5
Did his work quietly in breaking up attacks and starting France’s attacks from the back. Hit a stunning shot against the crossbar in the second half. Overall an impressive return after coming back from a suspension in the last game.
Paul Pogba – 8
Was everywhere for France today. Although some of his ideas did not come off, he was behind a lot of the good that Les Bleus showed going forwards. Scored the all important opening goal, and forced a very good save from Enyeama in the first half.
Blaise Matuidi – 7
His engine is unreal, and Matuidi did not stop running all game, stretching the Nigerian defence and midfield. However, he was very lucky not to be sent off for a horrible challenge early in the second half that could have cost France the match.
Mathieu Valbuena – 8.5
Once again, the little man provided when France needed him the most. His pinpoint deliveries were the difference between the teams, assisting both for Pogba’s opener and Yobo’s own goal, which finally clinched the match. Les Bleus look so much better with him in their side.
Olivier Giroud – 5.5
Tried and tried as ever up front, but it just did not work for him today. Perhaps the fact that Benzema was on the wing instead of an out-and-out wide man did not help Giroud, but the Arsenal man did not really manage anything significant when he was on the pitch.
Karim Benzema – 7
A game of two halves for the Real Madrid forward. Was completely wasted in the first half out wide, and did not manage anything meaningful, but looked a completely different player in the second half when he played down the middle. Surely he will start there in the next match?
Antoine Griezmann – 8
His pace and direct running changed the game when he came on. He pulled the Nigerian defence wide, and made clever runs in behind, giving his team mates more space on the ball. Capped it off with a big part in the second goal.