In the first match in Group D, a goal in either half was enough for Nigeria to overcome a competitive but ultimately wasteful France team on Sunday 19 August 2007 at the Gwangyang Soccer Only Field.

Given that both these sides were billed as the heavyweights in the group, this was always going to be a hard-fought encounter. And so it proved, with the French making the early running before Nigeria's Macauley Chrisantus truly brought the match to life on 15 minutes. Sent free by King Osanga's through-ball, the Golden Eagles' striker saw his initial effort saved by France goalkeeper Joris Delle, but was quicker to the rebound and swept the loose ball into the net. Only a header from Thibaut Bourgeois looked like threatening the goal at the other end before the half-time break, however Laide Okanlawon was alive to the danger.

After the break, the French pressed higher up the pitch and won several dangerous free-kicks close to the edge of the area. That pressure eventually paid off when a set-piece from Henri Saivet took a deflection and wrong-footed Okanlawon with 51 minutes gone, but the African champions soon went ahead for a second time, also from a free-kick. A fine headed flick-on found Ibrahim Rabiu in a threatening position and the Nigerian's volley was deflected past Delle and into the goal on 64 minutes.

Rabiu's strike would prove to be the last of the match, earning the Nigerians their first three points of Korea 2007.