Friday, June 20, 2014

Free-Scoring France Pound Switzerland 5-2

After France's 3-0 demolition of Honduras, there were questions about whether this France team would be able to win as comfortably against a more experienced opponent. In an impressive display of attacking dominance, France have silenced critics with their 5-2 victory over Switzerland.

France coach Didier Deschamps has shown that not only does his side not require the talents of Franck Ribery to be victorious, but that they can do it in a variety of formations. While against Honduras Deschamps set his side up with Benzema as the lone striker supported by wingers Griezmann and Valbuena, against the Swiss France set up with Giroud and Benzema up front. Furthermore, Deschamps mixed up his midfield, replacing Pogba with Moussa Sissoko.

Olivier Giroud quickly repaid his coach for the starting selection, heading in the opening goal from a corner in the 17th minute. Straight from the kick off, Switzerland's back pass was intercepted by Benzema and the Real Madrid striker put through Matuidi who snuck his shot inside Benaglio's near post. The French were relentless, and just past the half hour mark earned a penalty. Karim Benzema had his effort parried by the Swiss keeper Benaglio, and Cabaye's followup shot bounced off of the crossbar.

But it wasn't over for the Swiss, as a lightning fast counter-attack from the French cut open the Swiss defence with Valbuena tapping in the third goal just five minutes before halftime. In the second half Deschamps replaced Giroud with Pogba, and it was Pogba's chip with the outside of the boot which freed Benzema to produce a spectacular volleyed finish through the legs of Benaglia. It wasn't long after that Benzema assisted Sissoko for his own goal, a tight diagonal finish into the bottom corner.

While the Swiss suffered for most of the game, a reaction came late on with Dzemaili's bullet free kick which zipped along the ground and into the bottom corner of the French net. Just minutes later, Switzerland found another goal, with Xhaka volleying just inside the near post to make it 5-2. In the dying seconds of the match, Karim Benzema curled another fantastic goal into the Swiss net, but the referee blew for full time just before the shot hit home. It was another strong performance from the French, while the Swiss will have to get a positive result in their next match against Honduras if they intend on qualifying for the knockout rounds of the competition.

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