6:25 pm - Saturday January 19, 2019

Substitute did the trick for France against Nigeria, feels Baichung

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In the round of 16, France overcame resolute Nigeria, whereas, Germany beat Algeria in extra-time. In an exclusive chat with Aditi Tyagi of Zee Media, former Indian skipper Baichung said that France forced out a good result. And he also praised German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for his effort. Baichung also favoured Argentina to get a desired result against Switzerland in today`s tie.

Excerpts from the conversation:

How did France perform. What made the difference for them?

France looked shabby and their final third play wasn`t up to the mark with the way it has been so far. But they managed to do grind out a good result towards the end. Credit goes to Nigeria for making life tough for France. In the end it was the substitution that made the difference. Antoine Griezmann came in for Oliver Giroud and everything changed.

How important is a role of a goalkeeper. What was the impact of both goalkeepers in the Germany-Algeria clash?

Goalkeeper plays an important role in any major tournament. Manuel Neuer was the star for Germany as he made some amazing tackles and blocks. Credit goes to Algerian goalkeeper too for keeping his team in the game. Neuer showed why he is top class.

Your take on Phillip Lahm`s yellow card challenge after pulling shorts. Did it ever happen to you?

This happens in football. Lahm got what he wanted. Instead of conceding a goal its always better to pick up a yellow card. And no it has never happened to me but in world football these incidents do occur.

What do you think of Argentina? How much of a role will Lionel Messi play?

Argentina have a good team and Messi is performing well. They have hit the peak in the right time. They have fast paced players and will be lethal in counter attacks. A lot will constitute around Messi. But even Switzerland are playing well too. They aren`t going to be an easy side to beat. The heat will be a major factor as it is an early kick-off. Heat will determine a lot.

Suarez has apologized to Giorgio Chilleni and Uruguay prez has hit out on FIFA. Your thoughts?

Yes they are upset with FIFA because the punishment is too harsh on the Liverpool striker. Uruguay are not very strong without Suarez. Big star was ousted for an important game and it was a big blow. That`s why they lashed out at FIFA.

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