Salvador (Brazil): Coach Didier Deschamps says the same spirit which helped carry France to their 1998 World Cup victory is infecting the current squad, who thumped Switzerland 5-2. Four years to the day after France’s South Africa campaign unravelled when the players went on strike, Deschamps says the discord of 2010 has been replaced by a rock solid “esprit de corps” in Brazil. “You can’t compare dressing rooms to the one in 1998, but I have a very focused group and they have the mind-set which they want to maintain,” said Deschamps, who captained France to the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 victory. “There is a force which is rising, it’s not a guarantee of our success, but this mind-set is very powerful.” The French are on the brink of qualifying for the last 16 after sweeping the Swiss aside with Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema turning in a man-of-the-match display. Deschamps’s squad tops Group E having scored eight goals including their opening 3-0 win over Honduras. Benzema made up for failing to convert a first-half penalty by netting their fourth goal as Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Valbuena, Moussa Sissko and Blaise Matuidi also got on the scoresheet before the Swiss pulled back two late goals. “It was a great day for us, we were 5-0 up against a good Swiss team after 75 minutes and we really had a lot of pressure in midfield,” said Deschamps. “There were a few turning points in the game, but to be able to reach 3-0 at half-time really helps. “At 2-0, opponents can still turn things round, but 3-0 makes a difference.

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