France turned in another impressive result their second time out in Group E, turning goals from Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi, Mathieu Valbuena, the third of the tournament from Karim Benzema and then finally Moussa Sissoko into a 5-2 drubbing of Switzerland.
After a 3-0 victory over Honduras in their opener, Les Blues have all but clinched a spot in the Round of 16, putting behind them the bitter memories of their 2010 tournament when they failed to advance out of the group stage.
Switzerland, also an opening-game winner with a 2-1 win over Ecuador, made it a little more respectable with late goals by Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka after falling behind 5-0 and can still advance to the round of 16 with a result in their Group E finale Wednesday against Honduras.
OUCH: Switzerland were forced to make an early change when Giroud kicked Swiss defender Steve von Bergen in the face in the seventh minute as the two battled for a loose ball. Von Bergen was bloodied for his efforts and had to come off for Phillippe Senderos. No card was given from the exchange.
How is that not a card on Giroud? #FRAvsSUI— Ben Jata (@Ben_Jata) June 20, 2014
FROM BAD TO WORSE FOR SWISS: First, France hit on a Giroud goal to open the scoring in the 17th minute, a top-corner header off a corner-kick delivery from Valbuena. Then, just seconds after the restart, France struck again on a perfectly executed breakaway through Benzema, who fed Matuidi for a shot that beat Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio just inside the near post.
SWISS OFFSIDE: A Swiss celebration on a was cut short when Xhaka found the back in the 27th minute, on what would have been a crucial goal to get back into the game. But the midfielder was correctly ruled offside.
OFF THE HOOK … FOR A MOMENT: Swiss defender Johan Djourou inexplicably took Benzema down in the box just inches from the touchline for a French penalty. But Benzema’s spot kick in the 32nd minute was turned away by Benaglio before the rebound was clanged off the post by Yohan Cabaye and eventually cleared away. But France ultimately put the game out of reach in the 40th minute when Valbuena turned in a Giroud cross on yet another France breakaway for the 3-0 lead.
STICK A FORK IN THEM: If it wasn’t already bad, things got much worse for Switzerland as France continued to run riot in the second half. Benzema scored his third goal of the tournament in the 67th minute, nutmegging Benaglio with a corkscrew shot after a long feed from Paul Pogba. Sissoko got in on the fun in the 73rd minute on another French breakaway, taking a feed from Benzema for a low, back-post finish. Astonishingly, France could have easily netted a handful more with 22 shots (12 on goal).
#SUIvsFRA - there have been more goals in this game (7) than France's entire 2010 and 2002 campaigns combined (6)— World Cup Club Champ (@worldcupgoalsuk) June 20, 2014
GOING DOWN FIGHTING: Switzerland made the goal differential of their loss a bit more respectable. They first pulled one back on Dzemaili’s free-kick goal from 30 yards out in the 81st minute. Their second came on a technically excellent volley by Xhaka in the 87th minute after being unlocked by a Gokhan Inler through ball.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Benzema, France. Franck Ribery who? The French veteran is involved in almost everything Les Blues do on attack, with two assists and a goal, making past World Cup disappointments a distant memory.