France players celebrate the winner scored by Paul PogbaReuters

France had a second consecutive game where they failed to find their attacking mojo, but this time they did find the goals, two of them, right towards the end, to take them into the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup 2014 at the expense of fighting Nigeria.

It was not a game that you would want to record and keep for posterity, with neither side putting on an attacking display to send the pulses racing, and just that extra bit of quality from France proved to be the difference in the end as a header from Paul Pogba, the best player in a France shirt by some distance, and a late own goal from Joseph Yobo ensured this enterprising, but plenty-of-work-needed Les Blues side kept their dreams of winning another World Cup alive.

There were no "man that was some brilliant attacking football" moments from France, who started this World Cup off in stunning style, but they did show another side, a side important at the biggest stage of them all, of being able to eke out wins despite being far from their best. For Nigeria, it was just a case of lacking that cutting edge in the final half of the field, with most of their attacking players going missing.

The match did not quite go as France would have planned, with Nigeria starting much better, enjoying the bulk of the possession in the first 20 minutes, and even putting the ball in the back of the net.

The goal would not stand, though, as Emmanuel Emenike, who turned in a nice cross from the right, was given offside, with the striker just marginally straying beyond the final defender. That let-off seemed to wake France up, and they slowly started to take control of the proceedings even if the chances were few and far between.

The best one fell to Paul Pogba in the 22nd minute, with the midfielder starting the move with a powerful run down the middle, before volleying from 15 yards off a cross from Mathieu Valbuena. Pogba could not have hit the ball any better, but it was struck straight at Vincent Enyeama, who made a brilliant reaction save.

Paul Pogba France Vincent Enyeama Nigeria
Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama makes a brilliant reflex save to deny France midfielder Paul Pogba in the first halfReuters

Pogba, who has blown a little hot and cold so far in this World Cup, was the standout player for France, running things in midfield, and constantly making those runs to cause Nigeria trouble. However, as Pogba excelled in midfield, France's forwards Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud failed to sparkle, with neither of them able to get into the game enough to make an impact.

Blaise Matuidi, so dynamic from midfield, also wasn't involved as much as he would have liked, with most of France's attacks coming from their right via Mathieu Debuchy, Valbuena and Pogba.

The Nigeria forwards also struggled to make their mark in the game, with Ahmed Musa, fresh from a two-goal assault against Argentina and Peter Odemwingie very much in the periphery, while Victor Moses was let down a little bit by his end product. Emenike was the only Nigerian forward who had a bit of cut and thrust about him, popping up across the forwardline, and even forcing a decent save from Hugo Lloris off a rasping shot from distance.

Both teams would have gone back to the drawing board at halftime, and it was Nigeria again that started brighter, looking like they wanted the goal more, as the French floundered.

However, apart from a decent strike from Odemwingie, Nigeria never really threatened France's goal, while at the other end the likes of Benzema and Giroud barely saw the ball, as the game continued to remain cagey.

Giroud's afternoon ended on the hour, with Didier Deschamps sending in Antoine Griezmann, who immediately added a little more pace to the France attack. Griezmann was involved in France's best chance of the second half, slipping through Benzema off a one-two, with Enyeama half-saving Benzema's effort before Victor Moses cleared the ball of the line as it looked set to trickle past the line.

France, sensing the ability to pick up a late win, cranked the pressure up in the final 15 minutes, with Benzema, getting more and more involved, firing a cross across the six yard box, which was missed by his teammates, before the clearance fell to Yohan Cabaye outside the area. The midfielder unleashed a fearsome strike from 20 yards which thundered onto the crossbar before rolling to safety.

It was all France now, as Benzema, desperate for his fourth goal of the World Cup, saw his header from close-range tipped over the bar by Enyeama off a Valbuena freekick. Off the ensuing corner, however, France would jump ahead.

Enyeama, whose saves had kept the scores at 0-0, came off his line to try and punch Valbuena's corner, but could only get a couple of fingertips to it, with the ball falling perfectly for Pogba to head into an empty net from seven yards in the 79th minute.

With Nigeria desperate for the equaliser, France saw plenty of space open up, as Griezmann, off a through ball from Matuidi, forced an outstanding flying save from Enyeama off a thumping effort from inside the box.

France comfortably saw out the crucial minutes right after the goal, with Nigeria unable to a grasp of the ball to give their opponents any trouble, and the game would be put to bed on 91 minutes, as a quick corner from France saw Joseph Yobo turn the ball into his own net under close attention from Griezmann to add that gloss to a win for France, which was attritional, far from easy, but, no doubt, quite satisfying.