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Bayern hit back at Ribery needle fear claim

Bayern Munich hit back on Friday at claims made by France's World Cup doctor that Franck Ribery's fear of injections had forced him to pull out of the tournament.

Bayern hit back at Ribery needle fear claim
Franck Ribery and French coach Didier Deschamps. AFP Photo: Franck Fife

French team medical chief Franck Le Gall had said Thursday that Ribery, who plays for the German champions and withdrew from the World Cup due to a back
injury, could have still made the trip to Brazil.

"Franck belongs to a club where the treatment for all problems, whatever they are, starts from a base of injections," said Le Gall.

But Bayern doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt "rejected categorically" the allegations in a statement released through his lawyer.

"Firstly, Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt made available to the French medical team all the documents and analysis and, secondly, he communicated by telephone his medical opinion," the statement said.

Bayern also rejected Le Gall's claim that Ribery was afraid of injections.

"Ribery does not have, to his knowledge, a fear of needles…he only refused the cortisone injection that had been suggested in France.

"The mere fact that Ribery returned to Munich after pulling out of the France squad to seek treatment without cortisone and without painkillers further highlights this fact."

The statement added: "His participation in the World Cup would have been possible had he been treated by him (Müller-Wolfhart)".

On Thursday, Le Gall said that Ribery could no longer cope with injections.

"He can have 10, 20, 25, 40 per problem, per year. We could have chosen this option, which we didn't do," he explained.

"The time came when he couldn't cope with any more injections, so we didn't do it because he's afraid of injections.

"There was no reason for him not to play at the World Cup but seeing as I'm less well known than certain others, they went to Professor (Gerard) Saillant," added Le Gall, in reference to the sports medicine specialist who has treated the likes of rugby star Dan Carter and Formula One legend Michael Schumacher.

"The exam at the clinic was very reassuring with Professor Saillant but he didn't manage to get past the pain and we didn't find any solutions for him to play without pain.

"He has a lumbago (lower back pain) which has been going on for a few weeks. He had a three-week rest and then played one match he shouldn't have (the German Cup final) where he came on (as a substitute) before having to go off again."

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WORLD CUP 2014

France beat Nigeria 2-0 to book place in quarters

France beat Nigeria 2-0 on Monday to set up a World Cup quarter final clash with Germany in Rio di Janeiro on Friday. Didier Deschamps' Les Bleus side needed two late goals to see off a stubborn Nigeria.

France beat Nigeria 2-0 to book place in quarters
The Local is live tweeting from Paris's Hôtel de Ville, where thousands are gathered to watch France play. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

A Paul Pogba header and a Joseph Yobo own goal saw France edge a hard-fought contest with Nigeria 2-0 in Brasilia on Monday to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Pogba broke the deadlock in the 79th minute, nodding into an empty net after Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who plays for French club Lille, failed to collect a corner.

It was a cruel moment for Enyeama, but rewarded a barrage of French pressure sparked by the introduction of Antoine Griezmann, who forced Yobo to put through his own goal in injury time.

Didier Deschamps's France will now play Germany at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on July 4.

African champions Nigeria, meanwhile, must wait to sample the last eight at a World Cup, following defeat in their first knockout-phase match at the tournament since the 1998 competition in France.

Stephen Keshi's side nonetheless departed to the sound of warm applause from the fans crammed into the cavernous Mane Garrincha National Stadium, who allied themselves with Nigeria's cause from the off.

While France, who showed six changes, started purposefully, their final ball frequently let them down, which handed Nigeria opportunities to use their pace on the counter-attack.

Emmanuel Emenike thought he had put Nigeria ahead in the 19th minute when he deftly prodded in an in-swinging cross from Ahmed Musa, but the offside flag allowed French heart rates to return to normal.

France looked more threatening when they were able to bring the recalled Mathieu Valbuena into the game.

When the Marseille midfielder teed up Pogba for a vicious volley mid-way through the first half, it took a stunning reflex save from Enyeama to keep the game scoreless.

Onazi stretchered off 

Another intelligent pass from Valbuena then gave Mathieu Debuchy a sight of goal, but the Newcastle United right-back drilled wide.

Late in the first half Emenike took aim from range, but Hugo Lloris was able to parry.

Nigeria suffered a blow early in the second period when Lazio midfielder Ogenyi Onazi had to be stretchered off after an ugly, ankle-high challenge by Blaise Matuidi, who escaped with only a caution.

Faced with growing Nigeria pressure, Deschamps introduced Griezmann in place of Olivier Giroud with half an hour to play and the move quickly paid immediate dividends.

After Lloris had saved from Peter Odemwingie, a one-two between Karim Benzema and Griezmann set the Real Madrid man clear, but although he squeezed the ball past Enyeama, Victor Moses was on hand to hook clear.

It was to prove a temporary reprieve.

Yohan Cabaye, back from suspension, saw a 20-yard half-volley crash back off the bar before Enyeama had to produce a finger-tip save to touch a Benzema header over the bar.

It was the second fine stop of the match from the 31-year-old, but secondslater his failure to claim Valbuena's left-wing corner allowed Juventus midfielder Pogba to head in at the back post.

Enyeama then palmed a shot from Griezmann over the bar, but France made it 2-0 at the death when Yobo, under pressure from Griezmann, inadvertentlysteered Valbuena's drilled cross into his own net.

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