France midfielder Yohan Cabaye has urged his team-mates to avoid under-estimating their opponents ahead of Monday’s last-16 early afternoon kick-off against Nigeria in Brasilia.
The Paris St-Germain playmaker was shedding light on comments credited to defender Bacary Sagna and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin; both claiming not winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup would be tantamount to failure after finishing top of Group E.
“The fact we showed our quality in the group stage obviously should make us more confident but not arrogant, otherwise we are going to have major problems,” the Frenchman opined on Fifa.com.
Cabaye is up for selection for the last-16 clash with the African champions after missing his side’s final group game against Ecuador- which ended in stalemate- through suspension.
The 1998 champions are bookmakers’ favourite to progress to the quarter-finals at the expense of the Super Eagles, a team they lost to in their only previous meeting at full international level in St. Etienne five years ago.
The 28-year-old ex-Newcastle playmaker however believes France “can beat” Nigeria, but warns they must not ‘count their chicken before they are hatched’.
“We are going to play a very good team and if we lose we must accept that. There is little use in putting extra pressure on ourselves and adding weight on our expectations,” he added.
“It is good to be ambitious but winning the World Cup is not easy as one can see by the good teams that have already been eliminated.
“I respect Nigeria, though we can beat them, but to say we are going to win the World Cup one has to be careful. There is still a long way to go.”
Kick-off time is 5:00pm (Nigerian time)