An African squad has never advanced past the quarterfinals of the World Cup, and odds are stacked high against Nigeria and Algeria doing it this summer.
Nigeria is the big betting underdog, facing France, who won their group and looked very good doing it.
Les Bleus won their group by scoring eight goals and conceding just two. They will be facing a Nigeria squad that scored just three goals in three group matches, but conceded just three.
Most sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark had World Cup betting odds priced with France at 1-2, and Nigeria posted as nearly 7-1 underdogs. The draw line (tied after 90 minutes) was roughly 4-1.
Karim Benzema, who has three goals and two assists, leads the strong French attack, which has been especially solid by finding ways to create scoring chances from the midfield.
The French will be at full strength and fresh for this match, as Patrice Evra, Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Valbuena all rested in the last group match facing Ecuador.
France has a solid midfield, but they are an attacking one that pushes forward and may play into the hands of Nigeria. The African nation has a very fast squad, and they counter-attack aggressively.
They must take advantage of that and press the issue on offense, not retreat into a defensive shell as they did in their 3-2 loss to Argentina.
Nigeria is overmatched in the midfield, but John Obi Mikel is solid in that area of the pitch, and his play will be important.
If France and their defense can thwart the counter-attack and keep the Nigerian strikers of Musa and Peter Odemwingie under wraps, then they should win easily.
The French have issues on defense, especially from Mathieu Debuchy and Patrice Evra. And while they gave up only two group goals, they did not face one legitimate attacking squad.
Nigeria can pull off the shocker here and oust France, moving a step closer to making the aforementioned World Cup history in the process.
But the smart money says France will prevail.
France vs. Nigeria prediction: 3-1 France
Stats and odds courtesy of World Cup Odds.
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