Didier Deschamps' side cruised through the group stage and will fancy their chances against the Africans despite a couple of injury concernsBy Stefan Coerts in Brasilia
France coach Didier Deschamps used his side’s final group stage game against Ecuador to rest a number of regular starters, yet he’s not fully without injury worries ahead of Monday’s second round encounter with Nigeria.
Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho escaped punishment for his elbow against the South Americans, yet seems likely to miss out on the game versus Nigeria after all due to injury. The former Paris Saint-Germain centre-back is struggling with a hamstring problem and Deschamps is unlikely to take any risks.
With Laurent Koscielny recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, Eliaquim Mangala could get the nod at centre-back alongside Raphael Varane.
Furthermore, Paul Pogba and Moussa Sissoko will both be hopeful of starting in midfield, with the Juventus star currently sitting in pole position to feature from the first whistle.
Meanwhile, Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has some injury problems of his own after the narrow 3-2 loss to Argentina in his side’s final group fixture.
Midfielder Michael Babatunde sustained a freak arm injury in that game and is unlikely to return to full fitness before the end of the tournament. Additionally, there are still doubts over the fitness of Victor Moses, who has made just one appearance so far due to a muscular problem.
Moses could take Babatunde’s place in the starting XI, but Michael Uchebo remains an option as well after coming off the bench against Argentina.
Up front, Keshi is likely to put his faith in Peter Odemwingie, Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa once more as Nigeria have set their sights on reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.