Monday, June 30, 2014

African outsiders face European giants

African outsiders face European giants
MATCHDAY PREVIEW - Africa's two remaining teams return to the fray on Monday in a pair of Round of 16 showdowns against European powers. For Algeria, through to the knockout phase for the first time in their history, that means a daunting tie against three-time winners Germany, who have looked in excellent form so far at Brazil 2014. Les Fennecs (Desert Foxes) fear no one, though, and particularly not their upcoming opponents, having edged both of their previous meetings: a 2-0 friendly win in 1964 and a 2-1 success during the group stage at Spain 1982.

Nigeria can point to a similar record against their last-16 rivals France, with the only match between the teams ending in a 1-0 triumph for the Super Eagles in June 2009. Despite that, Les Bleus have emerged as a genuine force at this FIFA World Cup™, scoring eight goals in their first two games ahead of a goalless draw with Ecuador.
That contrasted with Nigeria's more delicate progress through a very open Group F, the African champions opening with a goalless stalemate against Iran before downing Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 and losing 3-2 to Argentina in their most accomplished performance. The statistics suggest France are favourites, as does a comparison of the teams' respective trophy hauls. But who will shine when it matters?    
The matchesRound of 16
France-Nigeria, Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, 13.00 (local time)
Germany-Algeria, Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, 17.00 (local time)
Glory beckons:Miroslav Klose needs just one more effort to become the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history, having recently drawn level with Brazil legend Ronaldo on 15 strikes. The Germany marksman has registered once so far at Brazil 2014, after notching five goals in 2002, five in 2006 and four in 2010.  
Proud record:Nigeria have become the first African team to reach the knockout phase for a third time, repeating the feat of their predecessors in 1994 and 1998. The continent still awaits its maiden semi-finalists, however, with a trio of sides having reached the last eight before exiting: Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana four years ago.
Five survivors:The Super Eagles saw off France 1-0 in a friendly in Saint-Etienne on 2 June 2009. Five players involved that day could feature in Brasilia: Patrice Evra, Loic Remy and Karim Benzema for France, plus Nigerian duo Peter Odemwingie and Vincent Enyeama.
French omen:France have grabbed a spot in the knockout phase for the sixth time since 1958. Each time Les Bleus have made it out of the group stage, they have gone on to reach at least the semi-finals, finishing third in 1958, fourth in 1982 and third in 1986 before lifting the Trophy in 1998 and reaching the Final in 2006.
German juggernaut:Germany will contest their 889th international when they tackle Algeria, with their previous fixtures yielding 515 wins, 181 draws and 192 losses. The three-time World Cup winners have rattled in 1,996 goals along the way, with an average of 2.24 per game.
Suspended players
Treading the tightrope
Benedikt Howedes (GER)
Nabil Bentaleb, Nabil Ghilas, Liassine Cadamuro, Djamel Mesbah, Madjid Bougherra (ALG)
Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra (FRA)
Juwon Oshaniwa, Kenneth Omeruo, John Obi Mikel (NGA)
Check it outThe tie between Algeria and Germany inevitably brings to mind memories of their last World Cup meeting 32 years ago. That day, in a group stage fixture at Spain 1982,  Les Fennecs wrote one of the most glorious chapters in their history by stunning Die Nationalmannschaft 2-1. Revisit that sensational success in our video presentation, and via exclusive interviews with Lakhdar Belloumi and Rabah Madjer.
The question fans are asking themselves back in France is how Les Bleus have managed to become such a well-oiled unit with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for goals, plundering 26 and conceding just three in eight games since their play-off opener against Ukraine. In an exclusive interview with FIFA, coach Didier Deschamps provides his own take.
With the clock ticking down on France's showdown with Nigeria, also met up with Super Eagles stalwart Joseph Yobo, who briefly played in France during a spell at Marseille. Recently awarded his 100th cap, the veteran defender explains why he sees no reason to fear Benzema and Co.
On this dayBrazil clinched their fifth World Cup crown in Yokohama, Japan, on 30 June 2002, engineering a 2-0 victory against Germany in the Final. With current coach Luiz Felipe Scolari then enjoying his first stint at the Seleção helm, Brazil played in a 3-4-1-2 formation that featured the blistering talents of front trio Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo. The latter hit the two winning goals in the second half, on his way to ending the tournament as top scorer on eight strikes, while captain Cafu became the first player to contest three consecutive World Cup deciders. Miroslav Klose, meanwhile, spearheaded Germany's attack.  
Play and winMake your prediction for the adidas Golden Ball winner at Brazil 2014 and you could walk away with your very own piece of World Cup history from the Maracana Final on 13 July. The Grand Prize for the adidas Golden Ball Predictor is an official match ball used during the 2014 World Cup showpiece, so what are you waiting for? 
Top tweetFrance defender Raphael Varane tweeted his thoughts before Monday's clash with Nigeria.
"A small break after training under extreme heat. Ready for the game tomorrow!"

Interview: Young Jeezy, YG And DJ Mustard Hit The 2014 BET Awards

Earlier today (June 29), VIBE hit the 2014 BET Awards with our cameras armed to catch all the backstage action. On our first stop, the red carpet, we caught up with trapstars Young Jeezy, YG and DJ Mustard who mobbed through as a trio. After touching on his upcoming album, the Snowman pulled his young West Coast homies along and put a new term into the air. Instead of accepting the label of O.G—Jeezy says he prefers to be called the O.T.—that's "Original Trapper" in case you didn't know. Check out the video to see if YG and Mustard approve.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Man Stabbed At Game & Meek Mill BET Awards Pre-Party, Video Released

Man Stabbed At Game & Meek Mill BET Awards Pre-Party, Video Released

A man in his 20s is stabbed inside of Lure Nightclub at a party hosted by Game and Meek Mill.
A stabbing took place inside of a BET Awards pre-party hosted by Game and Meek Mill, according to TMZ.
A man in his 20s was stabbed inside Lure Nightclub yesterday (June 28), the report says. 
TMZ has footage of the man outside of the club, waiting for medical assistance. He is with a friend who is also calling for help. 
The man was reportedly taken to a nearby hospital and is in stable condition. 
While Game and Mill hosted the event, other rappers were reportedly also in attendance. No connection between the stabbing and the emcees has been made. 
A video from the event is below

  BET Awards -- Stabbing During Pre-Party Inside Hollywood Nightclub
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‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Has Year’s Biggest Opening Day, Set for $104 Million Weekend

Transformers Age of Extinction

The robots look to do more damage en route to a whopping $104 million-plus debut this weekend. Paramount estimates a slightly more modest $100 million.
If that estimate pans out, the fourth installment of Paramount’s ever-growing franchise would overtake “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as the best debut of the year. Disney-Marvel’s sequel earned $95 million when it opened the summer box office early, hitting theaters in the first weekend of April.
This would mark the second best opening for director Michael Bay’s $2.6 billion movie series. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” debuted to $109 million in 2009.
The $210 million tentpole could also become the first pic since “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and the first movie of the year to hit the $100 million mark in its launch (as well as the 27th movie to earn a nine-figure opening weekend in the U.S.)
Although the last “Transformers” movie, “Dark of the Moon,” made $50 million less domestically than its predecessor, each new installment has grossed progressively more worldwide. “Dark of the Moon” made $1.1 billion to become the seventh highest worldwide grosser of all time. It was miles ahead of “Revenge of the Fallen’s” $836 million and the original film’s $710.
“Age of Extinction” has already started its international reign, earning $80 million in foreign markets, including an estimated $30 million-plus opening in China — the largest opening day for a foreign film in the People’s Republic. The Friday result is 42% higher than the last installment in the same territories.
The blockbuster had already set a record in China with $3.5 million from Thursday midnight previews. It had the second highest Friday gross of all time in Russia ($4.5 million) and the top opening day of 2014 in Korea ($3 million), among other territories. The movie is playing in 37 international territories this weekend.
This is the first film in the series without star Shia LaBeouf, who was coincidentally arrested for disorderly conduct in New York City on the film’s opening night, as Mark Wahlberg and company look to breathe new life into the franchise. Megan Fox left the series after the second installment and was replaced with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who’s now been substituted with Nicola Peltz.
The pic, which is now playing in 4,233 locations, made $8.75 from Thursday showings – the franchise’s lowest late-night gross to date. So far, “Age of Extinction” is the worst reviewed movie of the series with a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The first “Transformers” movie has the highest with 57%.
As expected, the audience skewed male (64% men), with 58% of moviegoers over the age of 25.
Holdovers led the rest of the pack, with “22 Jump Street” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” coming in second and third, respectively, in a repeat of last weekend.
The “21 Jump Street” sequel earned $5 million on Friday. The comedy stands to make $15 million by Sunday, which would mark a $45 million drop, raising its three-week cume to $140 million.
Its sequel sparring partner, “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” was close behind with $4.1 million. The Fox/DreamWorks animated pic could earn $13.1 million – a 47% decline. It will likely reach $122 million by Sunday.
Last week’s victor, “Think Like a Man Too,” fell to fourth with $3.4 million. Sony’s Kevin Hart comedy is on track for $10 to $11 million, sliding sharply by 65% in its second outing.
Disney’s “Maleficent” is still showing holding power as it rounds out the top five. The Angelina Jolie-starrer made $2.6 million on Friday as it headed for a fifth weekend in the $8 million range. The “Sleeping Beauty” live-action reimagining is on track to cross $200 million. It could become this year’s fourth film to reach that milestone following “The Lego Movie,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

Film Review: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

Dawn of the Planet of the

'Cloverfield' director Matt Reeves helms a bleak but spectacular sequel to the 2011 man-vs.-monkey hit.

It’s always darkest before the dawn, goes the saying — but in resuming a franchise already suspended on a downbeat note, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” sees the simian revolution reaching unprecedented levels of bleak anarchy. An altogether smashing sequel to 2011′s better-than-expected “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” this vivid, violent extension of humanoid ape Caesar’s troubled quest for independence bests its predecessor in nearly every technical and conceptual department, with incoming helmer Matt Reeves conducting the proceedings with more assertive genre elan than “Rise” journeyman Rupert Wyatt. Entirely replacing the previous film’s human cast, but crucially promoting Andy Serkis’ remarkable motion-capture inhabitation of Caesar to centerstage, “Dawn” ought to go ape at the global box office starting July 9, smoothing the path for further sequels to test the franchise’s complexity.
Following the robust performance of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” — which garnered warm reviews, more than $480 million worldwide and an Oscar nomination for its stunning effects work — “Cloverfield” director Reeves inherits the Pierre Boulle-originated franchise in considerably better condition than Wyatt did, considering the almighty whiff of Tim Burton’s 2001 “Planet of the Apes” remake. Credibility restored, then, it’d have been easy to get complacent, recycling the “Rise’s” most impressive setpieces and welding them to a hasty resuscitation of its movie-science narrative. Instead, Reeves and returning writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (joined by “The Wolverine” scribe Mark Bomback) have taken a different tonal tack, fashioning the new installment as an out-and-out war drama, with surprising subdivisions in its central conflict of man vs. beast, and battle scenes to do Weta Digital godfather Peter Jackson proud.
The action begins approximately a decade after “Rise” left off, with a pre-credits montage of global news reports filling in the subsequent drastic developments: The ALZ-113 virus (or simian flu) unleashed at the end of the prior film has wiped out most of the world’s human population, with a survival rate of less than one in 500. It’s a slight red herring of an introduction, given that the virus is no longer the most immediate threat to man’s day-to-day existence. With all government functions suspended and nuclear power critically depleted, any remaining bands of survivors exist in spartan, unlit isolation; if the flu doesn’t get to them first, the lack of basic resources will.
San Francisco — or the post-ape-ocalyptic remainder of it, at least — is once more the setting, brilliantly realized by production designer James Chinlund as a gangrenous wasteland of vegetation-swamped slumhouses, the city’s erstwhile landmarks glumly clothed in rust and moss. Its few residents are led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), a former military man bent on revenge against the apes for the loss of his family to the virus. More sanguine is Malcolm (Jason Clarke), who spearheads a project to recover the city’s electricity by regaining control of the O’Shaughnessy Dam. That entails encroaching on the forested domain of the neighboring ape community, still ruled with a firm but hairy hand by Caesar; with relations between man and ape already fragile, this violation throws fuel on the flames of civil unrest.
Though Caesar responds to the diplomatic overtures of Malcolm and his medic wife, Ellie (Keri Russell), and grants them limited access to the dam, not all his subjects approve. Particularly irate is Koba (Toby Kebbell), a hot-headed, human-hating ape with mutinous designs on his leader’s position; when an equivalently reactionary member of Malcolm’s party is revealed to have broken Caesar’s “no guns” condition of cooperation, the resulting furor gives Koba the impetus to launch his aggressive counter-movement. (Sadly, the writers resist giving Caesar the line “Et tu, Koba?”) The script elegantly constructs its human and ape communities as opposed but markedly similar ecosystems, each one internally fractured along lines of relative tolerance toward the other.
The “Apes” franchise has always been a politically loaded one, and this latest entry states its left-wing credo in ways both allegorically implicit and bluntly direct. (You’d have to be pretty obtuse to miss the pro-gun-control subtext attached to misdeeds on both sides of the man-monkey battle.) While the previous film functioned as something of a cautionary tale against man’s destructive meddling with his environment, “Dawn” apportions blame a little more equally, as the beasts (introduced in a thrilling, technically jaw-dropping faceoff against a grizzly bear) are shown to be no less reckless an influence on the biosphere than their former superiors. “I always think ape better than human,” Caesar admits to Malcolm, his speech patterns having evolved rather rapidly even over the course of this film. “I see now how like them we are.” It’s a reverse epiphany that would have Jane Goodall in tears.
Regardless of whose side audiences might take, however, the fallout is inarguably spectacular. Reeves stages the ensuing crossfire in the human colony with much the same sense of kinetic panic he brought to the flipped monster-movie mechanics of “Cloverfield,” albeit with far more technical dazzle this time. With most of the below-the-line talent new to the franchise, “Dawn” has an aesthetic entirely distinct from that of “Rise,” with Michael Seresin’s antsy camerawork painting from a strikingly dank palette, and Michael Giacchino’s chorally embellished score occasionally evoking the grandeur of Howard Shore’s work on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The editing by William Hoy and Stan Salfas rotates multiple points of drama before hurtling into a too-busy finale that sells Oldman’s arc particularly short: Still, while nearly half an hour longer than its predecessor, the film certainly doesn’t feel it.
Naturally, though, the services of effects wizards Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon have been retained — and with even more astonishing results this time, with the enlarged population and evolved capabilities of the ape community (who can now ride horses, handle firearms and goodness knows what else) posing fresh logistical challenges that are seamlessly met. The fusion of the film’s motion-capture work with its sophisticated fight choreography is particularly staggering.
That Caesar’s community now seems so integrated and completely characterized is certainly due to Letteri and Lemmon’s magic, though much credit should also go to the actors behind the illusion. Serkis must by now be used to the superlatives heaped upon his agile fusion of performance and image in many a CGI spectacle, though he’s in particularly empathetic, emotionally specific form here; Kebbell’s brute physicality and wild-eyed animosity, meanwhile, burns through the digital disguise. Despite Clarke’s everyman likability and some reliably gonzo posturing from Oldman, the less hirsute ensemble seems a little bland by comparison. Perhaps the film’s on the side of the apes after all.

Film Review: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

Reviewed at Moscow Film Festival (closer, noncompeting), June 27, 2014. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 130 MIN.


A 20th Century Fox release and presentation of a Chernin Entertainment production in association with TSG Entertainment, Ingenious Media. Produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver. Executiveproducers, Thomas M. Hammel, Mark Bomback.


Directed by Matt Reeves. Screenplay, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Mark Bomback, based on characters created by Jaffa, Silver. Camera (color), Michael Seresin; editors, William Hoy, Stan Salfas; music, Michael Giacchino; production designer, James Chinlund; art director, Aaron Naaman Marshall; set decorator, Amanda Moss Serino; costume designer, Melissa Bruning; sound (Dolby Atmos), Ed White; supervising sound editors, Douglas Murray, Will Files; re-recording mixers, Andy Nelson, Files; senior visual effects supervisor, Joe Letteri; visual effects supervisor, Dan Lemmon; visual effects, Weta Digital; stunt coordinators, Charles Croughwell, Marny Eng, Terry Notary; associate producer, Jennifer Teves; assistant director, Mathew Dunne; second unit directors, Brad Parker, Gary Powell; second unit camera, Gary Capo; casting, Debra Zane.


Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Jon Eyez, Enrique Murciano, Terry Notary, Judy Greer, Nick Thurston, Karin Konoval, Keir O'Donnell, Kevin Rankin.

BET Awards 2014 WINNERS LIST! VIDEO: Chris Rock Opens BET Awards With Monologue Mocking Everyone From Oprah to Donald Sterling


The 2014 BET Awards are being held on Sunday.
The annual show, now in its 13th year, honors the best in black entertainment — including music, movies, and sports.
And the winners are…
August Alsina
Tamela Mann
Lupita Nyong’o
Pharrell, “Happy”
Lionel Richie
Young Money
August Alsina
Myrlie Evers-Williams and all Civil Rights Movement heroes
Nicki Minaj

Chris Rock opened Sunday’s BET Awards with a monologue poking fun at everyone from Jay Z and Oprah to “Scandal” and Donald Sterling.
The comedian mocked the Solange Knowleselevator fight, Kevin Hart’s popularity, Rick Ross’ weight, and plenty of other targets in an expletive-laced segment that had the audience roaring.
It’s definitely worth watching.
Check out the video below!

Davido wins ‘Best African Act’ at BET Awards 2014

All I Do is Win: Davido shows off his award. The African Pop singer has in the space of a month been crowned as the best artiste in Africa. Photo: Twitter/BET International Davido has been crowned as the Best African artiste yet again… The Nigerian Pop star bagged the award for ‘Best African Act‘ at the 2014 BET Awards  holding Sunday, June 29, 2014, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Davido beat Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage, South Africa’s Mafikizolo, Ghana’s Sarkodie, Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz and Togo’s Toofan to win the award. ‘Thanks to all my fans!! WE WON‘, Davido tweeted, just moments after winning his award. Earlier in June, the ‘Skelewu’ singer also won the ‘Best African Act’ award at the MTV Africa Music Awards. © ... 

(Video) Chris Brown Performs At The BET Awards!

Chris Brown is back like he never left! Chris performed his hit song Loyal with help from Lil Wayne, Tyga, and Travis Barker! Hit the jump to see video of his performance!

[HD] Chris Brown Performs -  BET Awards 2014 by IdolxMuzic

(Video) John Legend Brings Out Jhene Aiko At 2014 BET Awards!

What an incredible blend of talent right here! Tonight John Legend came out belting “You & I (Nobody In The World)” alongside his guitarists until he took the piano to welcome his surprise guest. Jhene Aiko then came out and performed “The Worst” while John played in the background. Truly an awesome collaboration! Check out the video after the jump!

[HD] Jhene Aiko & John Legend Performs -  BET... by IdolxMuzic

BET Awards 2014: Worst Dressed

bet awards 2014 zendaya red carpet orig(3)
Oh Zendaya, you've been doing so well!
Your red carpet ensembles have been AH-Mazing at these past events, but we're a little disappointed in your BET Awards red carpet attire!
The periwinkle blue is certainly a good choice for a summertime award show, but the entire outfit was a little confusing!
Was she going for a sporty look? Flirty and sexy? Flirty, sexy, sporty chic??
Definitely not her best look so far. We have high expectations for you, you fashionista-in-training!

BET Awards 2014: 1 shot dead, 1 stabbed at 'unaffiliated' awards parties

A fatal shooting and a separate stabbing at unsanctioned parties celebrating Sunday's BET Awards cast a shadow over the event, where top superstars like Lil Wayne, Chris Rock and others were set to mark the best in black entertainment.
meekmillpromo.jpgRapper Meek Mill hosted a BET Awards pre-party Saturday night that was interrupted by a fight that left a man stabbed, according to website 
One person was killed and five injured in two separate incidents ahead of the show at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, Los Angeles police said. The events were "unauthorized and unaffiliated with the BET Awards," BET said in a statement.
"The network and all organizers will continue to maintain a safe environment for all planned activities," the statement said.
The death and four of the injuries followed gunfire early Sunday at a restaurant, Officer Drake Madison said. Separately, a man was stabbed in the stomach Saturday night at a nightclub. Rapper Meek Mill hosted the party where a fight led to the stabbing, according to
The violence could change the mood at the ceremony. This year, some of the performers include Pharrell, John Legend and Nicki Minaj.
Top nominees are Drake, Beyonce and Jay Z, who have five each.
Drake, who was originally set to perform at the show, will not attend, BET said Sunday. A representative for Beyonce also said the singer wouldn't attend, and her husband's rep wouldn't divulge if Jay Z would be there or not. Their attendance had nothing to do with the violence at the weekend parties.
Drake didn't attend last year's show, where he won video of the year. This year, the 27-year-old rapper's "Worst Behavior" is nominated for the top prize, competing with Beyonce's "Drunk in Love" and "Partition," as well as Pharrell's "Happy" and Chris Brown's "Fine China."
Beyonce and Jay Z launched a co-headlining stadium tour days ago. She is nominated for best female R&B/pop artist, with little competition aside from Rihanna, while her husband will battle Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Future for best male hip-hop artist.
Pharrell scored four nominations, including best male R&B/pop artist, best collaboration for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and the viewer's choice award. Beyonce, Drake and rising newcomers August Alsina and Jhene Aiko are also up for the fan-voted award.
Thicke, who is set to release his new album, "Paula" -- an ode to his wife, Paula Patton, whom he is separated from -- on Tuesday, will perform Sunday. Usher, Lil Wayne, Mary J. Blige and Iggy Azalea will also take the stage.
Minaj and Azalea -- whose anthemic "Fancy" has spent its fifth week on top of the Billboard charts -- will compete for best female hip-hop artist, an award Minaj has won consecutively for four years.
Lionel Richie will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the show, to be hosted by Chris Rock. Kerry Washington, Kevin Hart and Gabrielle Union are among this year's presenters.

BET EXCLUSIVES:(Video) Nicki Minaj Enters Wonderland For Her 2014 BET Awards Performance!

Entering looking sexy as all hell riding piggy back on a motorcycle spitting her verse from “Chi-Raq”, Nicki brought the stage alive tonight at the BET Awards. Seeming to be channeling her inner Alice, the rapper performed “Pills N Potions” as she explored her very own wonderland. 

Koscielny wary of Nigeria threat (Yobo: I believe in this team)

Koscielny wary of Nigeria threat
Yobo: I believe in this team

While Didier Deschamps's France side garnered plaudits by sweeping past Honduras 3-0 and crushing Switzerland 5-2, a more cautious tone has been heard as they prepare for Monday's FIFA World Cup Round of 16 tie against Nigeria.  A much-changed team could only draw 0-0 in their final Group E fixture against Ecuador on Wednesday. Both Bacary Sagna and Morgan Schneiderlin suggested that France were potential champions after the stalemate at the Maracana, but centre-back Laurent Koscielny has since introduced a note of caution as Les Bleus prepare for Monday's game in Brasilia.It is only seven months since France had to overcome a 2-0 deficit to beat Ukraine in their qualifying play-off and the Arsenal defender says that it would be unwise to look too far ahead. "The first objective was to get through the group phase. Now it's to go as far as possible," he said."We are competitors and we are ambitious, but we know that we have opponents against us and that we might lose. We're aware of our qualities. Something changed after the Ukraine game, but anything is possible in a knockout match and for the moment we're only focusing on the last 16."Koscielny could line up in central defence alongside Raphael Varane at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium as Mamadou Sakho is doubtful due to a thigh injury. The Liverpool centre-back had to go off in the 61st minute of Wednesday's game and trained on his own on Saturday.Yohan Cabaye will come into the team in place of Schneiderlin after missing the Ecuador game due to suspension, but Paul Pogba's place is under threat from Moussa Sissoko.   After a laborious 0-0 draw with Iran in their opening game, Stephen Keshi's Nigeria side booked their place in the last 16 by edging Bosnia-Hercegovina 1-0 and then impressed in a 3-2 loss to Argentina. CSKA Moscow winger Ahmed Musa twice produced immediate replies to goals from Lionel Messi, only for Argentina left-back Marcos Rojo to net a 50th-minute winner.
"We need to defend well, take our chances up front and learn from the Argentina game," Musa said. "In the second round, it's winner takes all. I know with hard work and God's support we shall make history. But prayers without hard work is nothing, so we need to be at our best against France to make it happen."
Chelsea forward Victor Moses missed the Argentina game due to a muscular complaint, but he trained with the squad in Brasilia on Saturday. Winger Michael Babatunde is out after his wrist was fractured by a shot from team-mate Ogenyi Onazi during the match against Argentina, but Keshi has an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from. For Joseph Yobo, the pre-match ritual is as much a part of the game as the half-time team talk. In his 16 years as a professional, the Nigeria defender has always readied himself for action the same way, slipping on his shirt and then singing and praying before stepping on to the pitch. It is a routine he has gone through innumerable times – but on precisely 100 occasions for the Super Eagles. A sterling servant for his country, Yobo had the honour of bringing up his century of caps against Argentina in Nigeria's final Group F game at Brazil 2014.Although his side slipped to a 3-2 loss in that match, the 33-year-old came away with almost entirely positive memories. After all, not only did he hit a significant personal milestone, Bosnia and Herzegovina's 3-1 victory against Iran ensured that Nigeria tied down a berth in the Round of 16. "Qualifying for the knockout phase was our first objective," the Super Eagles' captain told "We're very happy because that hadn't happened to us since 1998. This time, we did it with pride, by finishing second and trying to win first place against Argentina."

'I'm proud of our team'They gave the South Americans a genuine scare too, though Yobo feels they could have done even more. "We're disappointed because we didn't play that game to win it from the very first minute," explained the Fenerbahce stopper, who spent the last six months on loan at Norwich City. "We thought a draw would be a good result, but in the second half we came out even stronger to try and win the match. That's what we should have done from the very first minute."
Lionel Messi's early strike showed up the flaw in their conservative game plan, but Yobo took plenty of encouragement from how the match subsequently played out. "I'm proud of our team and our reaction after we fell behind," he said. "We're happy to have qualified but disappointed not to have got a better result."

That in itself says much about the ambition in the Nigeria ranks, given that La Albicelesteboast a pair of World Cup titles and were able to bring a four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner to the party. "They're one of the best teams in the world and it was a huge test for us," added the former Everton stalwart, who hardly needed a second to think before naming the greatest forward he has faced in his long career. "Oh Messi – he's the best by far. I'd already played against him in 2010 and he caused us problems then, but we managed to stop him scoring. He's a really special player. You only have to look at how he made us suffer today."

In truth, the Barcelona star was the one real difference between the teams in Porto Alegre, where Stephen Keshi's men proved that they have made tangible progress since their campaign got under way. "Lots of people said that we started off too timidly against Iran (0-0), but they were a solid team and we've improved since our first game," said Yobo. "Our third match was probably our best since the tournament began, even if it ended in defeat."

Forward momentum
With 100 caps under his belt, the veteran is now able to adopt a more detached perspective on Nigeria's results, looking beyond the outcome for a more nuanced take on the performance. Even so, a study of their scorelines suggests that the Super Eagles have been resurgent since 2001. "I've played in this side for many years, so I've been able to see it evolve," Yobo noted, having previously graced the World Cup stage at Korea/Japan 2002. "We won the Africa Cup of Nations, booked our place in the World Cup without any trouble and now we've qualified for the second round. It's not often that I've experienced so many pieces of good news in a row. That shows you we're improving. This team is young, but it's growing fast and learning quickly. We're taking confidence from our campaign so that it can help us in our next match."   

That takes the African champions to Brasilia for a meeting with France, where Yobo spent the 2001/02 season during a brief spell at Marseille. Like Argentina, Les Bleus are sure to provide another probing examination, particularly with Karim Benzema in such keen form. "We've just played against the best forward in the world, so we're ready to measure ourselves against anybody," said Yobo, before adding with a grin: "I don't see what we should be afraid of. I believe in this team, and I think we can do it."

Yobo will collect his 101st cap in that encounter, and understandably he hopes to go through his pre-match ritual a few more times yet on Brazilian soil. "If we don't win the next game, there won't be a 102nd cap and so on. But what if I can make it to 104 in Brazil?"