The big question before this game was which Nigeria team would turn up. They had stumbled through the group, flattering to deceive in their single win against Bosnia, yet putting on a real show in the 3-2 defeat to Argentina. Once again, it seemed that their build up to the game was being derailed by talks of player bonuses, or the lack of them. Of course, the fact they are representing their country on the biggest stage in the world isn’t enough for some players.
The 5pm games during the working week serve up a big dilemma as to when I should go home. I’d love to say that my 3g/4g network in London is good enough to support even radio commentary but alas I am still tied to EE/T-Mobile (they change their name in rotation to blame each other for poor service) I struggle to raise an analogue signal on my way home.
1. Why play a centre-forward on the wing? – Benzema is a decent centre-forward with pace and a goal every 3 games ratio at international level. So what was going through Dechamps mind when he stuck him on the wing? Even (even!) Rio Ferdinand saw that was a strange move when analysing the first half. He hardly got a sniff of the ball in that first period, but after the break when he was let loose as a traditional centre-forward he caused the Nigerians all sorts of issues, and can feel aggrieved his second half effort that was cleared off the line hadn’t given the French the lead.
2. France away kit again – So I know I was banging on about this last week but it really bugs me. Why do they need to wear the off-white away kit? What colour clash could there be with a lime green kit? Called me an old cynic but I have a feeling that a certain US sportswear company may have a say in what kit is worn.
3. John Obi-Mikel – What exactly does he offer any team? He has always been the poor man’s Dechamps, Makalele, Essien with a poor disciplinary record. But on at international level he takes wandering around letting the play pass him by to a new level.
4. Celebrating an own goal – On first watch we all thought that was a smart little flick by Griezmann to seal the win in the last minute. He wheeled away, arms stretched out to receive the congratulations of Valbuena. But he hadn’t scored. He didn’t even get a lucky touch. The ball hit Yobo’s knee and went in. Man up and give credit where credit is due.
5. France are the new France – They are going to win it…you all know that deep down. Unfancied before the tournament, slowly progressing towards a semi-final win against Brazil and then beating Argentina in the final.
Beer World Cup
Obvious (!) no beers whilst I was still at work, or on the train home but as soon as I walked through the door I had a 1664 thrust in my hand. With no Guinness Export left it was a comfortable win for the French.
France 2 Nigeria 0