FIFA World Cup: France not afraid of anyone, asserts Paul Pogba
Brasilia: France star Paul Pogba has stressed that Didier Deschamps’ men don’t fear anyone ahead of their quarter-final match against Germany. Pogba made the comments before Germany beat Algeria 2-1 in extra-time on Monday night.
France's midfielder Paul Pogba after their win over Nigeria. Pic/AFP.
Les Bleus booked their ticket for the final eight following a 2-0 win over Nigeria at the Estadio Mane Garrincha on Monday — with Pogba opening the scoring before Joseph Yobo beat his own goalkeeper to make it two — and the Juventus star is brimming with confidence.
“Why should we be afraid of Germany? We are not afraid of anyone. We are the national team of France. We will play whoever we get and play to win. We will always give everything,” Pogba said at a press conference, before going on to say that he would like to meet hosts Brazil at some point in the tournament.
Bring on Brazil!
“Of course we would love to play Brazil. I remember watching France-Brazil when I was a kid in 1998. There’s a nice rivalry. It would be great to meet them again. But we have to take things one step at a time.”
The midfielder picked up the man of the match award following his fine outing and he was immensely pleased with his role in the victory over Stephen Keshi’s men, while he hopes that any doubts about the national team have been obliterated with progress to the quarter-finals.
“I knew there was a whole country that would support us — scoring that goal has freed us,” the Juventus star told TF1.
A dream fulfilled
“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.
“I am really happy that we won. I was man of the match, but it was a team effort. I wouldn’t have been here without my teammates. 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.
Brasilia: Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi hit out at American referee Mark Geiger after his side lost 0-2 to France in the World Cup last 16 in Brasilia on Monday.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi
“The referee is a human being and is bound to make mistakes, but a lot of mistakes is questionable,” Keshi told his post-match press conference.
“I’m not happy with the officiating.” Keshi was aggrieved that Emmanuel Emenike had a first-half goal ruled out for offside, although replays suggested the call was correct, and also felt France had been allowed to get away with over-zealous tackling.
“If you look at the goal we scored, there was no infringement. On two occasions, Ogenyi Onazi received very bad tackles and nothing was done about it. He is out now probably for weeks,” Keshi added. “This is the first time I’ve spoken about the referee in my life, because it wasn’t good.” -- AFP