• Wednesday, October 01, 2014

France win amazing game against Switzerland 5-2

Group Match

Group E, Match 3

France produced a scintillating display to rout a sorry Switzerland side 5-2 and all but secure a second-round spot at the World Cup.

Having survived a physical Honduras side in their Group E opener, Didier Deschamps' men faced a seemingly more difficult task in Salvador, but they ran roughshod in an exhilarating display that left Ottmar Hitzfeld's men shell-shocked.

Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi and Mathieu Valbuena were all on target in a breathless opening 45 minutes in which Karim Benzema missed a penalty.

He made amends with his third goal of the tournament in the second half, before applying the assist for Moussa Sissoko to make it five.

Switzerland - who beat Ecuador 2-1 in their first pool match - were stunned by two goals in as many first-half minutes, first Giroud crashing a header past Diego Benaglio, before the goalkeeper was beaten easily by Matuidi's shot.

Granit Xhaka had a goal ruled out for Switzerland, before Benzema - who notched a brace against Honduras - saw Benaglio save his spot-kick.

It made little difference as Valbuena capped of a wonderful counter-attack in the 40th minute to effectively end the contest by half-time. 

Benzema's close-range strike and a Sissoko effort added further gloss in the second period, before Blerim Dzemaili and Xhaka bagged late consolations.

France are now on the brink of the last 16 having taken a maximum six points, while Switzerland still have work to do in their final pool encounter with Honduras.

Switerland's woes started early when Steve von Bergen caught a boot in the face from Giroud and had to be replaced.

And Giroud was in the thick of the action again when he put France ahead in the 17th minute.

The Arsenal striker leapt highest to thump Valbuena's corner past Benaglio who, despite getting a full hand to the ball, could not keep the effort out.

Just a minute later France took complete control.

Benzema pounced on Valon Behrami's poor pass before playing in Matuidi on the left of the box and he side-footed past Benaglio at the near-post, the goalkeeper perhaps beaten too easily.

France were handed a reprieve when Xhaka turned home Gokhan Inler's mishit shot, only to be denied by the offside flag.

Having escaped, Les Bleus missed the chance to extend the lead in the 33rd minute when referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the spot after Johan Djourou recklessly felled Benzema.

However, Benaglio dived to his right to keep out the Real Madrid striker's spot-kick before Yohan Cabaye inexplicably volleyed the rebound against the crossbar.

But France did get a third just five minutes before the break.

Raphael Varane brought the ball away following a Swiss corner before producing an exquisite pass that sent Giroud free down the left and he in turn laid the ball across goal for Valbuena, who could not miss from inside the six-yard box.

Switzerland showed more intent after the break, but were restricted to long shots.

Despite the improvement, France had a fourth when substitute Paul Pogba's fine ball with the outside of his boot was swept home by Benzema, Philippe Senderos not helping his side with a poor attempted clearance.

France made it five just six minutes later, Benzema once again involved as he laid on for Sissoko to drill home from the right side of the box.

Dzemaili pulled a goal back with a low 30-yard strike in the 81st minute, before Xhaka added further respectability to the scores when he met Gokhan Inler's chipped pass with a superb guided volley, but it was too little too late.

Benzema was denied a stunning late sixth as the whistle had gone before his first-time strike from the edge of the box had hit the back of the net, much to the Real Madrid forward's annoyance.

Live Commentary, the match as it happened

France dominated long portions of the match, with Switzerland only growing into the game once Les Bleus changed formation and looked to protect what they had - leaving the French in pole position in Group E. I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you again next time, but be sure to stick around for later coverage of Ecuador vs Honduras.

FULL TIME! France win 5-2 against Switzerland, in a game which certainly wasn't for the defensive purists. Goals from Giroud, Matuidi, Valbuena, Benzema and Sissoko were enough for Deschamps' side, despite two late strikes from Dzemaili and Xhaka for the Swiss.

90` + 4` GOOOOOOOAL! BUT NO! The referee already blew the final whistle! Sissoko plays a delicious ball into the striker's feet, before Benzema looped a dipping effort over Benaglio and into the back of the net! A gorgeous strike, but bad luck for the Real Madrid man!

90` + 2` Switzerland are ending the game the stronger of the two sides, but France won't mind given their general performance. It's a case of too little, too late for the Swiss, who have only grown into the game as Les Bleus took their foot off the gas.

90` There are three minutes of stoppage time in the second half.

89` Switzerland are laying siege to the French box in the late stages, with Xhaka really looking motivated to retain his place in the starting eleven against Honduras. The introduction of Dzemaili at the break has certainly improved Hitzfeld's side, but they'll still be disappointed to have seen their shrewd defensive record dashed tonight.

88` Yellow Card Yohan Cabaye

87` Assist Gökhan Inler

87` Goal Granit Xhaka

87` Goal Granit Xhaka

87` GOOOOOOAL! SWITZERLAND HAVE TWO! Xhaka fires home emphatically at the back post, after being released by a very tidy through ball from Inler. He blasts home on the volley with his left foot, displaying some outrageously good technique!

86` Shaqiri forces Lloris into a good save, as the goalkeeper gets down smartly to his right to palm the Bayern man's effort away. He only needs half a chance to try his luck, Shaqiri has been fairly unlucky not to have found the back of the net this evening.

85` Lichtsteiner breaks down the right yet again, but Koscielny puts in a good block to deny the Juve man. France clear their lines, with the Swiss forced back towards their own goal yet again. Dzemaili tries to find Xhaka with a crossfield ball, but the goalscorer's pass bobbles out of play.

83` France don't have the clean sheet they would have so desperately wanted, but the scoreline is still more than convincing. Griezmann is given a runout in place of Valbuena, who earns an embrace from his coach as he leaves the field of play.

AdTech Ad82` SubstitutionMathieu ValbuenaAntoine Griezmann

AdTech Ad81` Goal Blerim Dzemaili

81` GOOOOAL! WHAT AN EFFORT FROM DZEMAILI! The substitute lines up a 30-yard free-kick, which zips through the wall and into the bottom right corner. Benzema is the culprit, with the striker shielding his face rather than concentrating on doing his job. A good strike nevertheless and Switzerland have a consolation goal.

 

80` Senderos releases Mehmedi down the left hand side with a hopeful clearance, but the Freiburg man is closed down effectively by Debuchy. France continue to be professional and efficient in their outlook, with Switzerland unable to find anything in the way of penetration.

78` France look extremely comfortable, with this defeat leaving Switzerland with a lot to do if they are to pick themselves up for their fixture against Ecuador. The French supporters are jubilant and so they should be. 

76` Sissoko exchanges a one-two with Debuchy down the right hand side, before the former squares a cross to Valbuena, who fires straight at Benaglio. France attack again, with Matuidi drawing another save out of the Swiss goalkeeper, before Senderos acrobatically clears his lines.

75` A quarter of an hour remains and Switzerland will be hoping for the final whistle to arrive as soon as possible. The crowd are mocking the Swiss, cheering as France hold onto possession comfortably, just to add insult to injury. They've been awful this evening.

73` Assist Karim Benzema

AdTech Ad73` Goal Moussa Sissoko

73` GOOOOOOAL! SISSOKO NETS THE FIFTH FOR FRANCE! Inler gives away possession needlessly, before a quick French break presents Sissoko with a chance at the back post. The Newcastle midfielder fires a low finish beyond Benaglio and into the far corner!

72` Cabaye slots Evra through on goal, before the Man United left-back tries to stab a dinked finish over the advancing Benaglio. It heads high and wide, despite his claims of the 'keeper making a save.

71` XHAKA GOES CLOSE! He's been a real handful in the air, this time turning Rodriguez's cross across the face of goal! France look unable to deal with him, but he simply can't hit the target.

AdTech Ad69` Substitution Haris Seferovic sits for Josip Drmic

69` France are looking in fantastic shape, without any suggestion that their form is going to dip any time soon. They've been solid throughout, with Lloris looking more than capable on the rare occasions that Switzerland have tested him. The French national anthem rings around the stadium once again.

67` Assist Paul Pogba

AdTech Ad67` Goal Karim Benzema

67` GOOOOOOOOAL! BENZEMA SCORES TO MAKE IT FOUR FOR FRANCE! It's another mistake from Switzerland to allow the Real Madrid man in behind, before a wonderful improvised finish from the Frenchman squeezes in between Benaglio's legs! Wonderful outside of the boot assist from Pogba!

AdTech Ad66` Substitution Mamadou Sakho sits for Laurent Koscielny

66` Sakho limps off the field after appearing to feel some tightness in his hamstring, with Koscielny the man to replace him. Not something France will be wanting to see, but the change allows for Deschamps to ensure that his first choice central defender is well rested for their next fixture.

64` BIG CHANCE FOR MEHMEDI! Lichtsteiner breaks to the byeline, before clipping a cross to the back post which floats over Debuchy! Mehmedi takes a touch, but Lloris is incredibly quick off his line to pressure the Freiburg man and force him to panic and fire over.

63` Substitution Olivier Giroud sits for Paul Pogba

63` Xhaka is nearly picked out at the back post by an early cross from Rodriguez, but Evra does just enough to put his man off. Deschamps looks to his bench, with Pogba replacing Giroud, which should mean that Benzema will be France's number nine.

62` A lull in both the game and the atmosphere in Salvador, as France look to close space and remain hard to play through. If Switzerland were to find an unlikely goal, things might liven up a little, but otherwise this is going to be a routine second half for Les Bleus.

60` Half an hour remains for Switzerland to drag themselves into this game, or at least soften the blow to their goal difference. Benzema sees a shot deflected over the crossbar by Djourou with Benaglio wrong-footed. France are comfortable and the Swiss don't seem to have any questions to pose to their opponents.

58` DZEMAILI GOES CLOSE! The substitute is pressured by Sakho, but the shot evades the French defender and whistles narrowly over the crossbar. It seemed to open up for the Napoli man, but from 30 yards the odds were always against him.

57` Switzerland spread play wide to Shaqiri well, with the Bayern man taking a wonderful first touch. Debuchy and Varane double up well on the Swiss midfielder, with the latter sliding in to put the ball into touch. France continue to frustrate their opposition.

55` France transition quickly once again, with Benzema feeding Giroud. The Arsenal man takes a poor touch, which bobbles behind him, but recovers well. He shifts the ball onto his left foot, before arrowing an effort out of play for a goal-kick. He puts up an apologetic hand.

54` France haven't pressed forward too readily in the opening ten minutes of this half and appear happy to absorb some pressure. Their lightning counter attacks will be something that Switzerland will be paranoid about. Shaqiri turns Sissoko, before releasing a long-range effort that he drags terribly wide.

52` Shaqiri delivers a dangerous cross into the front post from a free-kick, but Matuidi does just enough to ensure that Xhaka isn't able to steer a header inside the upright. France concede a corner, but the Gladbach man once again fails to hit the target after meeting Shaqiri's delivery.

51` Seferovic ambitiously tries to sweep a left-footed effort across goal and inside the far post, but Lloris is confident enough to let the ball bobble behind for a goal-kick. Drmic will be confident that he will see some second half action, given the Real Sociedad man's lacklustre display.

50` A fractured start to the second half, with both outfits giving away possession cheaply. Switzerland know that they need the mother of all comebacks if they are to take any points from this game, but have moved the ball fairly sharply in the early minutes since the restart.

48` Giroud tries to curl a left-footed effort into the bottom corner, but Senderos slides in well to turn the Frenchman's shot behind for a corner. Valbuena's delivery is terrible, however, and fails to clear the first man.

47` One change at the break for Switzerland, as Behrami is taken off for Dzemaili. Mehmedi and Seferovic play a clever one-two, but Sakho comes across well to sweep up, slide in and dispossess the left winger as he raced into the box. Inler tries his luck from 30 yards, but Lloris collects easily.

46` Substitution Valon Behrami goes for Blerim Dzemaili

46` We're back underway in the second half! This might be a case of damage limitation now for Switzerland, but France will want to win comfortably and show that they're a strong force in this World Cup.

Xhaka had a goal disallowed for offside for Switzerland, while Benzema missed a penalty for France. This game might well be over already, but the former's late minute winner against Ecuador suggests that there might be slim hope yet. Hitzfeld needs to make a couple of inspired substitutions once again.

HALF TIME! France are almost out of sight, leading 3-0 over Switzerland at half-time in Salvador. Goals from Giroud, Matuidi and Valbuena have gifted Les Bleus' a sizeable cushion, but Deschamps won't want his side's level of performance to dip whatsoever.

45` + 2` Benzema weaves in between two defenders and releases yet another shot towards goal, but Benaglio is easily able to get down to his left and smother it. That should be that in a great half for France.

45` France are allowing Switzerland to have possession, but only due to their confidence in their ability to break upfield. Rodriguez and Lichtsteiner haven't been able to press up and support whatsoever for the Swiss. There are two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.

43` VALBUENA AGAIN! The Marseille man goes close after receiving a good pass from Matuidi, but Benaglio is able to beat the Frenchman's effort away from the danger zone! Switzerland are really on the ropes.

42` Five minutes until the break and France can't believe what they've managed achieve in this first half. Their fans are delirious, while those with an allegiance to Les Bleus on the field continue to press forward.

40` Assist Olivier Giroud

40` Goal Mathieu Valbuena

40` GOOOOOOOOOAL! VALBUENA MAKES IT 3-0! Les Bleus break upfield extremely quickly, leaving Hitzfeld frustrated on the Swiss bench! France break from the corner, with Giroud racing down the left and picking out the Marseille man at the back post! He fires into the roof of the net, sparking wild celebrations!

40` Great challenge from Debuchy! The right-back tracks back accidentally to recover and ensure that Shaqiri can't deliver from the byeline. Switzerland win a corner, but Giroud is once again on hand to make a defensive header.

38` Terrible cross from Sissoko! The former Toulouse man breaks down the right and gets to the byeline, but his clipped cross is way beyond Benzema. Giroud rises at the back post, but can only divert the delivery way wide of the target.

36` France are continuing to have a very fluid forward line, with Giroud spending more time on the left hand side than Benzema. When Evra pushes upfield, the Arsenal man is able to squeeze infield and challenge for aerial balls, giving Les Bleus additional aerial presence.

34` Just over ten minutes until the half-time break and Switzerland will consider themselves lucky to still be in with an opportunity to take some points from this fixture. Benzema's penalty should have buried Hitzfeld's men, but a save from Benaglio means that the goalkeeper atoned for earlier questionable saves.

32` Penalty save Diego Benaglio

32` Missed Penalty Karim Benzema

 

 

32` SAVED! FRANCE HIT THE WOODWORK! Benaglio denies Benzema's penalty brilliantly, before Cabaye fires the rebound onto the crossbar! Les Bleus can't believe their luck, they should be out of sight by now!

 

 

31` PENALTY TO FRANCE! Djourou is complaining but the referee has pointed to the spot! Benzema turns his man and gets a small amount of contact on the ankle from the Swiss defender, with is deemed worthy of an opportunity from 12 yards.

30` INCHES WIDE FOR SHAQIRI! The Bayern man drives past Varane and fires a left-footed effort across goal, but Lloris might have just got an important touch! It whistles past the post and the Swiss midfielder has his head in his hands!

29` Switzerland can take from heart from having the ball in the back of the net, but France are still in control. Giroud unleashes a dipping left-footed effort from 25 yards, but the ball balloons high and wide.

27` OFFSIDE! Xhaka has the ball in the back of the net, but it has been ruled out for offside! A Swiss free-kick is cleared by Giroud, before the loose ball is hooked back into the penalty area. Xhaka fires home with a scuffed half volley, but the linesman's flag is rightly raised!

25` BENZEMA GOES CLOSE! France break upfield incisively once again, with Benzema receiving possession 30 yards from goal. The Real Madrid man turns smartly and drives through the heart of the Swiss defence, but his eventual poked effort isn't powerful enough to beat an extended Benaglio.

24` Seferovic is looking extremely isolated at the head of the Swiss attack, as he has both Sakho and Varane free to track himself wherever he goes. France are in control, with Rodriguez and Lichtsteiner pegged back due to Switzerland being simply unable to retain the ball in dangerous areas.

22` There's a party atmosphere in Salvador, as France continue to look extremely confident. A long ball up to Giroud is flicked on by the goalscorer, but Benaglio is quick off his line to claim the loose pass. Perhaps the first example of convincing goalkeeping we've seen from him this evening.

20`A double salvo for France has left Switzerland reeling! Their usual defensive stability has dissipated entirely, with two goals in 20 seconds for Les Bleus leaving Hitzfeld's men with plenty to do. France deliver a free-kick effort into Benzema, but the forward is caught offside - his headed effort floats high and wide anyway.

18`Assist Karim Benzema

18`Goal Blaise Matuidi

18`GOOOOOOOOOOOAL! IT'S TWO FOR FRANCE! LES BLEUS SCORE TWO IN TWENTY SECONDS! France break upfield immediately, with Matuidi on hand to steer a Benzema through ball into the path of the PSG midfielder, with the ball zipping beyond Benaglio at his near post!

17`Goal Olivier Giroud

17`Assist Mathieu Valbuena

17`GOOOOOOOAL! OLIVIER GIROUD GIVES LES BLEUS THE LEAD! The Arsenal forward rises highest to head home a corner delivery, with his attempt just too hot to handle for Benaglio! The Swiss keeper can only palm Giroud's header into the top corner, with Rodriguez helpless on the goal-line.

16`Giroud tries to invite Debuchy down the right flank with a stabbed pass, but puts too much weight on it. The French forward three is very fluid, with the likes of Benzema and Giroud exchanging readily. Djourou make a very important sliding interception to deny Benzema the opportunity to poke home a finish from six yards.

14`France work their way down the left hand side, with Giroud picking out Benzema on the edge of the box. The Real Madrid man is tackled by Senderos, before Switzerland launch a counter attack. Mehmedi aims for Seferovic with an early long ball, but the Real Sociedad striker is let down by poor distribution.

12`Mehmedi is scythed down by Debuchy, with the Newcastle defender getting none of the ball, but the referee is required to make his own decision as the linesman bizarrely didn't flag. This game is still to come alive.

10`The first ten minutes have passed without any real incident, save for the injury to Von Bergen. France are starting to see more of the ball, with Seferovic very isolated up top for the Swiss.

9`SubstitutionSteve von BergenPhilippe Senderos

8`Senderos warms up, as it is quickly apparent that Von Bergen won't be able to continue. He's got a bloody eye, meaning that there's no quick fix for this particular ailment. His replacement has had plenty of club football this season for Valencia, meaning he could be an adequate replacement.

7`Von Bergen goes down and requests treatment, after clashing in an aerial battle with Giroud. Hitzfeld complains to the fourth official, but there didn't appear to be anything untoward from the French striker in that tackle. It's a case of a high foot from the Arsenal man, but an accidental one.

6` BENZEMA TRIES HIS LUCK! The two-goal man versus Honduras nearly strikes again, as the Real Madrid forward cuts onto his right foot and fires at goal from the edge of the box. Benaglio is happy to let the curling effort head high and wide of the top right corner.

5` Switzerland enjoy some earlier possession but are unable to make any inroads into the organised French ranks. The supporters inside the stadium aren't appreciating a rather sluggish start. Debuchy and Cabaye try to deliver crosses early on the right, but Rodriguez and Djourou deny them.

3` No chances for either side in the opening minutes, with both looking fairly solid due to numbers in midfield. Sissoko has presumably been deployed in place of Pogba due to Deschamps desiring some extra athleticism and pressing in the middle third, as Les Bleus try not to underestimate their opposition.

1` Both sides are confident and ended their previous fixtures on highs, meaning that we should be enjoying a tightly contested affair this evening. Switzerland are donning their customary red, while France are in their white away strip.

Switzerland substitutes: Ziegler, Senderos, Lang, Barnetta, Sommer, Stocker, Dzemaili, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Burki, Schar.

Switzerland starting line-up (4-3-3): Benaglio; Lichtsteiner, Djourou, Von Bergen, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka, Inler; Shaqiri, Seferovic, Mehmedi.

TEAM NEWS: Ottmar Hitzfeld keeps faith in his substitutes, as Haris Seferovic and Admir Mehmedi start after goalscoring performances against Ecuador. Ricardo Rodriguez starts at left-back after his two assists last time out, with the defence and midfield showing continuity. Any Swiss personnel on the bench know that their contributions will be valued.

TEAM NEWS: France re-install Olivier Giroud as their number nine, with Antoine Griezmann dropping to the bench, while Moussa Sissoko is preferred to Paul Pogba in central midfield. Otherwise it's business as usual for Deschamps' men, with Karim Benzema presumably drifting out to the left hand side and Mathieu Valbuena being given a free role in attacking midfield.

Commenatry: Goal dot com

Published: 1:36 am Saturday, June 21, 2014

Last modified: 9:58 pm Saturday, June 21, 2014

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