France smash sorry Switzerland

by | Jun 20, 2014 21:56

France virtually booked their spot in the last 16 of the World Cup after a 5-2 demolition job on sorry Switzerland.

France virtually booked their spot in the last 16 of the World Cup after a 5-2 demolition job on sorry Switzerland.

Olivier Giroud came in and Paul Pogba was benched after a 3-0 win over Honduras, while ex-Fiorentina striker Haris Seferovic was given a start following his last-gasp winner against Ecuador.

Ottmar Hitzfeld was forced into an early substitution as former Palermo defender Steve Von Bergen suffered a facial injury.

It was France who broke through with a towering header from Giroud on a corner, as the marking was again terrible from set plays.

Just 20 seconds after play had resumed, Les Bleus added a second. Valon Behrami gave away possession to Karim Benzema and Blaise Matuidi’s angled drive surprised Diego Benaglio at the base of the near post.

Granit Xhaka had the ball in the back of the net on 27 minutes, but was offside when volleying from a cleared corner.

Moments later Hugo Lloris parried a long-range Xhaka strike and was glad to see Xherdan Shaqiri’s follow-up skim the back stick.

Benzema was tripped by Yohan Djourou for a clear penalty, but France did not get their third goal. Benaglio made up for earlier errors with a splendid save on Benzema and Yohan Cabaye fired the rebound on to the woodwork from close range.

Switzerland did concede before the break thanks to a classic counter-attack from one of their own corners. Giroud rolled across for Fiorentina transfer target Mathieu Valbuena to fire in under the bar from six yards.

Blerim Dzemaili replaced his Napoli teammate Behrami for the second half and blasted a good chance over, then Lloris was decisive when rushing off his line to close down Mehmedi.

France made it 4-0 thanks to another defensive howler. Philippe Senderos hit a fresh-air clearance on Pogba’s ball over the top, allowing Benzema to turn in on the half-volley.

Switzerland collapsed after Gokhan Inler gave the ball away and Benzema laid it off for a Moussa Sissoko angled drive.

It was so nearly 6-0, as Benaglio’s acrobatic save denied Benzema. Instead, Napoli midfielder Dzemaili got a consolation goal when his daisy-cutter free kick from all of 25 metres went through the wall and surprised Lloris at the base of the near post.

Les Bleus were caught napping again in the final minutes, as Xhaka sprung the offside trap on an Inler chipped pass and hit a fantastic volley.

There was more drama in stoppages, as Benzema thought he had scored France’s sixth and his own fourth of the tournament, but the volley went in after the referee had blown the final whistle.

Switzerland 2-5 France

Scorers: Giroud 17 (F), Matuidi 18 (F), Valbuena 40 (F), Benzema 67 (F), Sissoko 73 (F), Dzemaili 81 (S), Xhaka 87 (S)

Switzerland: Benaglio; Lichtsteiner, Djourou, Von Bergen (Senderos 9), Rodriguez; Inler, Shaqiri, Behrami (Dzemaili 46), Mehmedi, Xhaka; Seferovic (Drmic 69)

France: Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho (Koscielny 66), Evra; Sissoko, Cabaye, Matuidi; Valbuena (Griezmann 82), Benzema, Giroud (Pogba 63)

Ref: Kuipers (NED)

Saved penalty: Benzema 33 (F)


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