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World Cup 2014

 

Switzerland 2 France 5 - Highlights, key battle and what the result means

Published on Jun 21, 2014 5:52 AM
 
France's forward Olivier Giroud (right) reacts after scoring his team's first goal during a Group E football match between Switzerland and France at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador during the 2014 Fifa World Cup on June 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Swiss rolled. A defence that had more holes than Swiss cheese. French fried. It's a headline writer's dream as Switzerland were hammered 5-2 by a rampant France team for the biggest scoreline at this World Cup so far.

After the disgrace of the 2010 tournament, having to scrape into Brazil via play-offs and losing star man Franck Ribery through injury, Didier Deschamps' Les Bleus have been a revelation so far, impressing with their attacking intention.

As for the Swiss, their usual efficiency fell to pieces in Salvador and were lucky as France could have scored at least seven goals on the night.

Highlights

- Les Bleus left the Swiss in a daze with two goals in two minutes when Olivier Giroud's powerful header in the 17th minute and Blaise Matuidi's unerring finish from the left Ottmar Hitzfeld's side with a hill to climb.

- That hill became a mountain in the 40th minute when Mathieu Valbuena arrived at the far post to tap home a third.

- Further goals from Karim Benzema (67th) and Moussa Sissoko (73rd) sealed the win. Benzema could have had a hat-trick had his penalty not been saved and the whistle going a fraction of a second before his piledriver flew into the net in stoppage time.

- The Swiss recovered slightly in the second-half to score two screamers. Blerim Dzemaili's 30-metre free-kick (81st) and Granit Xhaka's volley (87th) were nothing but consolation goals.

Key battle

Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos vs Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud

With just two defeats in 18 previous games over the last two years, the Swiss have an excellent record under coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. Much of that has to be credited to an organised and mean defence.

Senderos came in after just eight minutes, replacing Steve Von Bergen, who had a bloodied nose. But the centre-back pairing were simply ripped to shreds by France's strike pairing.

But regardless of the ball hanging in the air or rolling on the ground, the partnership had no answers to Giroud's headers and Benzema's footwork.

While many teams play with a lone striker or a False Nine, Deschamps had gone back to a good ol' strike partnership and the chemistry between his front two will go some way in France's progress in Brazil.

Man of the Match

From June 2012 to October 2013, Benzema went through 1,222 minutes without scoring for France. But the Real Madrid striker now has nine in the last eight games for his country.

With Ribery out of the World Cup, the French depended on their chief scorer even more and he is handling the challenge excellently so far. His sharp movement, clever link-up play and feline grace have made him a joy to watch in Brazil as he jointly leads the scoring chart alongside Robin van Persie, Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben on three goals each.

Benzema volleyed home ruthlessly for his goal and should have had two more. But his game is more than that as he shredded the Swiss with deadly passes into space for Matuidi and Sissoko to blast home.

He missed the cut in 2010 but he certainly is making up for lost time now.

What the result means

France now top Group E with a maximum six points from two games while Switzerland are second with three points.

Les Bleus are virtually through while the Swiss wait nervously for the result of the Honduras-Ecuador match.

 

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