World Cup 2014: Switzerland v France

SWI 2 – 5 FRA: Goals galore in Group E as a very impressive France put the Swiss to the sword in an entertaining game in Salvador. There must be something in the water in the northern town as the three games played there so far there have yielded seventeen goals. This was a somewhat surprising scoreline in my eyes as I really fancied the Swiss, who were unbeaten throughout qualifying, to step up against the big boys here and win the group. However they were dreadfully poor at the back, shambolic at times as a creative French midfield was allowed to run riot in the space offered to them in from of the Swiss back four. Johan Djourou and Philipe Senderos looked drastically out of their depth here. Olivier Giroud powered a header into the top corner early on and a minute later Blaise Matuidi capitalised on a poor piece of goalkeeping from Diego Benaglio to make it two. Benaglio made up for his error by saving a Benzema penalty before the diminutive Marseilles midfielder Mathieu Valbuena added a third before half time. Chosen in favour of the petulant Paul Pogba, the busy Valbuena was at the heart of everything good from the French in the middle of the park. After the break it was still one way traffic and finally Benzema grabbed the goal his performance deserved before Newcastle forward Moussa Sissoko again punished some terrible defending. You have to credit the Swiss for coming out fighting in the last twenty minutes largely due to the impact of substitutes Dzemalli and Drmic, the former producing a speculative 40 yard free kick that beat Lloris in the French goal to put a goal back. Grant Xhaka beat the French offside trap to score a second consolation but it mattered little. France will look to keep their 100% record going against Ecuador to win the group in style; meanwhile Hitzfeld will stress the importance of a confident performance from the Swiss against Honduras to ensure they also reach the knockout stages. Two fascinating final games in Group E.

A Swiss roundup!
A Swiss roundup!

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