The midfielder headed home in the 79th minute of the last-16 match in Brasilia to put Les Bleus into the lead after Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama flapped at a corner. Joseph Yobo's own-goal in stoppage-time later secured the quarter-final berth for Didier Deschamps's men.
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"I knew there was a whole country that would support us - scoring that goal has freed us," the Juventus star told TF1.
"I am very happy for the team and for the whole of France. Playing in the last eight of the World Cup has always been a dream of mine.
"This is one of the proudest moments of my life."
France will face either Germany or Algeria in the last eight of the World Cup, with Brazil or Colombia waiting in the semi-finals for the victor.