Having sat out the final group game with Ecuador, Evra was recalled to the starting XI as Didier Deschamps made six changes to form an attacking team that also included Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and former Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
Both teams showed lots of energy and ambition in the opening exchanges, suggesting the first goal in this match would prove crucial. The first chance fell to France, though, as Olivier Giroud latched onto Karim Benzema’s pass to smash over the bar from 15 yards.
Nigeria thought they had scored in the 18th minute when Emmanuel Emeniki poked Musa's cross past Hugo Lloris at the near post, until their celebrations were duly cut short by the sight of the linesman's flag – which replays suggested was correctly raised.
Paul Pogba, starting his third match of the tournament, drove forward to show his admirable power before forcing an excellent save from Vincent Enyeama with a volley in the 23rd minute following a fine exchange with Marseille forward Mathieu Valbuena.
The match became a nip and tuck affair as half-time approached with both sides failing to produce enough quality in front of goal, though France should have gleaned an advantage as Mathieu Debuchy fired wide from inside the box in the 39th minute.