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Giroud starts for France vs. Nigeria at World Cup

June 30, 2014

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Striker Olivier Giroud returned to the starting lineup and center half Laurent Koscielny replaced the injured Mamadou Sakho in France’s team to face Nigeria in the second round of the World Cup on Monday.

Giroud, who was on the bench for last week’s 0-0 draw with Ecuador, was picked ahead of Antoine Griezmann to join Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena in attack.

Sakho, who started all three group games, injured his left hamstring against Ecuador and failed to recover full fitness.

Meanwhile, Yohan Cabaye returns from suspension to take his place in midfield alongside Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has made only one change from the team which lost 3-2 to Argentina in its final group game. Midfielder Victor Moses replaces the injured Michael Babatunde, who has a broken wrist.

Joseph Yobo wins his 100th cap after retaining his place in defense ahead of Godfrey Oboabona.

France is looking to make the quarterfinal stage for the first time since 2006, and Nigeria is looking to make the last eight for the first time at the World Cup.



France: Hugo Lloris; Mathieu Debuchy, Raphael Varane, Laurent Koscielny, Patrice Evra; Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi; Mathieu Valbuena, Olivier Giroud, Karim Benzema.

Nigeria: Vincent Enyeama; Efe Ambrose, Kenneth Omeruo, Joseph Yobo, Juwon Oshaniwa; Ogenyi Onazi, John Obi Mikel; Ahmed Musa, Peter Odemwingie, Victor Moses; Emmanuel Emenike.

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