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Eagles Set For France Test

Nigeria face France in a second round Brazil 2014 World Cup match in Brasilia on Monday.

Both sides have met once in an international friendly in 2009 and the Super Eagles won 1-0. Joseph Akpala was on target for Nigeria.

Nigeria will aim to equal Africa’s all-time best at the World Cup – quarterfinals.

Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana reached the quarterfinals at Italia ‘90, Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010 respectively.

1998 World Cup champions France were sent packing in the first round at South Africa 2010 but the 2006 finalists have performed in Brazil.

France finished top of Group E with seven points, after beating Honduras and Switzerland and a drawing with Ecuador. Nigeria finished as the second best team in Group F with four points after a 0-0 draw with Iran, a 1-0 win over Bosnia, and a 3-2 defeat to Argentina .

Since the first round, the French, who boast quality players in all departments, have concentrated on their preparations for the game.

Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo insists Les Blues are beatable, adding that the money issue facing the Super Eagles will not affect the team.

Yobo said, “This money issue was there before the first match. It was there before we played Bosnia and it was there before we played Argentina. It did not distract us.”

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said on Friday that the only plan on the board was to beat France.

Keshi said, “I said before the tournament that our mentality must be strong. Our approach to every match has always been the same – to win. Whether we are playing against Spain at the FIFA Confederations Cup or playing against Liberia in a friendly match, I always tell the boys that victory is non-negotiable. For us, we will go into Monday’s match aiming to win.”

Victor Moses and Godfrey Oboabona could feature after only being fit enough for the bench against Argentina, although Michel Babatunde is ruled out with a fractured wrist.

France coach Didier Deschamps could be handed a defensive problem with Mamadou Sakho reportedly struggling with a hamstring injury.

Deschamps says he still wants more from his players despite their fine start to the World Cup.

“I’m pretty happy with their performance (against Ecuador), even if I think we could have played better as a team,” Deschamps said in an interview with Fifa.com. “But it’s important that as many players as possible are able to stay match-ready by getting playing time.”

He added, “We need to appreciate this moment: when you look at the other matches, you realise that this is a very difficult World Cup. Some big nations have already been eliminated, but we’re still here.”

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