Nigeria may have failed to live up to the high expectations built on last year's African Cup of Nations success, but they still managed to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina to second in a tricky group F and fought Argentina hard in their last match, a narrow 3-2 defeat to one of the tournament's favourites. At the very least it was an improved performance following a nervy 1-0 victory over Bosnia and a dull nil-nil draw with Iran, though the four points earned from those first two matches are what earned them their spot in the Round of 16.
Now that they're here, though, things get harder against a French side that is hitting their stride at the perfect time. Six months ago, nobody had France as favourites. Then, Didier Deschamps abandoned the "pick your eleven biggest stars" approach in favour of trying to build a team. An unlikely playoff comeback against Ukraine and a fortunate group stage draw later and France were favourites to make it to the World Cup knockout rounds. Having been one of the most impressive sides in Brazil, all of a sudden they find temselves Europe's best chance at winning the whole thing.
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