France eliminate Nigeria, Suarez says sorry

Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:13pm EDT
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By Andrew Cawthorne

BELO HORIZONTE Brazil (Reuters) - France reached the World Cup quarter-finals on Monday with a 2-0 win over Nigeria that left only one African team still in, while Uruguay striker Luis Suarez broke his silence to apologize for biting.

Algeria, the remaining African side and also the sole Arab nation represented, play Germany in Monday's second game.

Seeking to make up for their humiliating early exit four years ago, the French left it late in Brasilia to break down a hard-working Nigeria team, scoring twice in the last 11 minutes.

'Super Eagles' goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who had been excellent until then, flapped at a corner in the 79th minute, leaving Paul Pogba an open goal to head into after French pressure had been steadily building in the second half.

"To score a goal for your country, especially in an important match like this to get into the World Cup quarter-finals, it's one of the best moments of my life," an elated Pogba said afterwards.

'Les Bleus' struck again at the death when Nigeria defender Joseph Yobo skewed a cross into his own goal.

African champions Nigeria have never progressed beyond the last 16.

The two goals took the tally for the tournament to 147, surpassing the 145 scored in the entire 2010 World Cup.   Continued...

France's Paul Pogba (19) heads to score a goal against Nigeria during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia June 30, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray