By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A Karim Benzema inspired France beat Switzerland 5-2 yesterday afternoon (June 20th) at the Arena Fonte Nova to all but qualify for the final sixteen of the FIFA World Cup. With seven goals netted yesterday, the Fonte Nova has now seen seventeen goals in three games, following Holland’s 5-1 win over Spain and Germany’s 4-0 dismantling of Portugal.
France had killed the game as a contest before the half-time whistle, building an insurmountable 3-0 lead as they blew their rivals out of the water. They now face Ecuador in their final group game knowing a point is enough to top the table.
The first few minutes were lost in a midfield battle with nothing to suggest the goal fest that was to follow. Yet France went ahead in the sixteenth minute and the floodgates opened.
Olivier Giroud jumped highest at a corner and headed the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net. Switzerland had no time to react; less than a minute later they were 2-0 down and facing an uphill struggle that they never manged to climb.
Behrami’s careless pass fell to the feet of Benzema, who in turn released Blase Matuidi to fire a low shot under the body of Swiss goalkeeper Bengalio. France were up and running. Switzerland were stunned and struggled to find a way back into the match. On 39 minutes it was all but over.
Valbuena combined with Matuidi and Giroud to fire in the third. There was no way back for the shocked Swiss, whose only job now was damage limitation. Paul Pogba, on as a substitute, supplied Benzema for the fourth on 66 minutes. Conversely, that goal seemed to sting Switzerland into action, determined not to concede again.
Yet France had found another level and six minutes later scored their fifth. Benzema played through Sissoko who launched an angled drive across a helpless Bengalio. Switzerland scored two consolation goals but the damage had already been done. With eight goals in two games, France have shown their World Cup credentials.
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