France thrash Switzerland 5-2, move closer to last-16 qualification

Salvador (Brazil): France all but assured themselves of a place in last-16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 5-2 thrashing of a lacklustre Switzerland, ranked sixth in the world, in a Group E clash at the Arena Fonte Nova here Friday.

Olivier Giroud’s 17th minute header opened the floodgates for France with Blaise Matuidi scoring the second a minute later.

Mathieu Valbuena added the third with a 40th minute strike while Karim Benzema scored his third goal of this year’s finals in the 67th minute.

Moussa Sissoko rounded off the convincing win for the French in the 75th minute.

With the game done and dusted, Blerim Dzemaili scored Switzerland’s first goal in the 81st minute while Granit Xhaka grabbed the second in the 87th minute.

France played a brilliant attacking game and put the Swiss defence under tremendous pressure in the entire match.

They set camp outside the Swiss box and peppered the goal with shots after shots. Keeper Diego Benaglio, who stopped a Benzema penalty in the 33rd minute, saved Switzerland from complete humiliation as the defence lay in tatters.

Switzerland, who narrowly beat Ecuador 2-1 in their first game, were extremely poor both in attack and defence.

They gave the ball away too cheaply way too often in the midfield and their goal came only because the French three-man free-kick wall didn’t do their job.

At the back, the Swiss were in complete shambles. Everytime the French attacked, it seemed they would score.

A lack of organisation coupled with some silly mistakes saw the Swiss leak in five goals.

France, in contrast, were sound at the back. The usually overenthusiastic back-four were calm on the ball. It was only in the last 10 minutes did they lose their concentration and got a little complacent allowing Switzerland to score two late goals.

The French media had given their team little chance in this year’s World Cup, but ‘Les Blues’ are proving their critics, recording their second successive win after their 3-0 opening victory over Honduras.

France having played two matches lead Group E with six points followed by the Swiss on three. Honduras and Ecuador are yet to get off the mark after losing their opening matches.

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