World Cup - Magnificent France crush Switzerland

World Cup Group E, Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador - Switzerland (Dzemaili 81’ Xhaka 87’) France (Giroud 17’ Matuidi 18’ Valbuena 40’ Benzema 66’ Sissoko 73’)

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World Cup - Magnificent France crush Switzerland
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Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi and Moussa Sissoko AFP

France gave one of the best performances of the competition so far when they beat Switzerland 5-2.

Switzerland ran into difficulties almost immediately when Steve von Bergen was replaced by Philippe Senderos after getting a high boot in the face from Olivier Giroud. From then, it was panic. On 17 minutes, Olivier Giroud scored with a great header from a corner, a minute later, Blaise Matuidi had the second after Valon Behrami was robbed in midfield.

The Swiss escaped too much trouble for 10 minutes, with Xherdan Shaqiri going close, but on the half hour they conceded a penalty with Johan Djourou trip on Karim Benzema. He missed his penalty, and Mathieu Valbuena’s follow up hit the bar. On 40 minutes, Giroud rounded up a counterattack by sliding the ball to the back post for Valbuena to rectify his mistake

Almost inevitably the second half started slowly as both sides recovered from the thrill of the first, but France eventually put the Swiss to the sword for constant midfield errors, with Benzema and Sissoko both converting from attacks started in Switzerland’s half. Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka scored meaningless consolations, but it does not take away an astonishing dismantling of the Swiss midfield and defence by a ruthless France.

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KEY EVENTS

6’ - BENZEMA CHANCE - The forward takes the ball onto his right foot and curls a shot from the outside of the box just wide.

17’ - GIROUD GOAL - Valbuena swings out a corner that Giroud meets perfectly from a deep position and thunders a header into the top corner.

18’ - MATUIDI GOAL - Benzema robs Behrami from the kickoff, lays the ball left to Matuidi who skids a shot low, into the bottom corner.

30’ - SHAQIRI CHANCE - Shaqiri pounces on a Hugo Lloris save, shoots on goal just wide of the goal with x Seferovic inches away from turning in.

31’ - PENALTY - Benzema drives towards the byline, tries a couple of tricks and draws a trip from Djourou.

33’ - PENALTY MISS - Benzema aims left and the ‘keeper guesses correctly. The ball rebounds into the path of Valbuena, but he can’t keep his volley down and hits the post.

40 - VALBUENA GOAL - From a Swiss corner, France break. Raphael Varane slides a ball down the left for Giroud, who tees up Valbuena at the back post to strike home.

60’ - BENZEMA SHOT - Valbuena tees up Benzema just inside the box, but his shot is deflected just over the goal for a corner.

64’ - MEHMEDI MISS - Lloris storms out of goal to close down Mehmedi, who is readying a volley, and he panics, sending it well over.

66’ - BENZEMA GOAL - Pogba tries and inventive scooped pass towards Benzema. Senderos fails to cut it out allowing Benzema to hook the ball into the net.

74’ - SISSOKO GOAL - After Inler loses the ball, France counter and Benzema spreads the ball right for Sissoko to drill first time into the far corner.

77’ - VALBUENA SHOT - From close range Valbuena has a shot palmed away by Benaglio.

81’ - DZEMAILI GOAL - From 35 yards out, Dzemaili skids a shot under the cowardly Bezema, and beats Lloris.

87’ - XHAKA GOAL - A ball over the defence, with Debuchy ruining the offside trap, allows Xhaka to turn in a well-timed volley inside the near post.

90+3’ + AFTER THE WHISTLE - BENZEMA NON-GOAL - After a pass inside from the wing, Benzema slams a wonderful shot past the ‘keeper only to find the whistle had gone for full time.

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KEY STATS

With two late goals, Switzerland avoided their worst ever World Cup defeat.

Switzerland have not beaten France since 1992, when they snatched a 2-1 friendly win.

This is the first in four matches between the two sides to not have ended in a draw.

Switzerland-France is the 250th World Cup match between European teams.

Olivier Giroud scored France’s 100th World Cup Finals goal.

MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY

TALKING POINT

Can France go all the way?: They have a goalscorer in form, a balanced and unified side, and one of the most exciting young players in Paul Pogba. There are possibly better sides - Germany and Brazil, for instance - but the momentum appears to be with this devastating French team.

MAN OF THE MATCH

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Karim Benzema (France): For now, the underwhelming Benzema has gone. This is an energetic, fit and powerful striker who is clinical in front of goal (perhaps not for the penalty) and able to assist others with neat, short passes in and around the box. He is flexible enough to work as a lone striker, and also to allow Giroud to perform ably when leading the line.

PLAYER RATINGS

Switzerland: Benaglio 5, Lichtsteiner 5, Djourou 4, Von Bergen 6, Rodriguez 5, Behrami 4, Xhaka 6, Inler 5, Shaqiri 5, Seferovic 5, Mehmedi 5. Subs: Senderos 5, Dzemaili 5, Drmic 5.

France: Lloris 6, Debuchy 6, Varane 7, Sakho 7, Evra 7, Sissoko 7, Cabaye 7, Matuidi 7, Valbuena 8, Giroud 7, Benzema 8. Subs: Pogba 7, Koscielny 6, Griezmann 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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