Saturday, 21 June 2014

Oliver Giroud and Benzema are France's key to success

Both having their international performances qustioned time to time, Oliver Giroud and Karim Benzema erased any doubts after having shined in France's 5-2 rout of Switzerand. Both had reasons to start over the other, but Didier Deschamps decision to start them together payed off as both were on target and linked up with the team well.

It took only 16 minutes for France to open the scoring as Giroud scored a powerful header from a Mathieu Valbuena corner. In a blink of an eye after Giroud's goal, Blaise Matuidi doubled France's lead with a near post finish after played in by Benzema. Benzema would then go onto win a penalty after 30 minutes of action but failed to take advantage as Diego Benaglio saved the spot kick and the crossbar denied Yohan Cabaye the follow up. Towards the end of the first half, France put the game out of Switzerland's reach as Giroud squared the ball across goal for Valbuena to finish off a classic counter attack.

The second half again was goals galore as Benzema scored the goal he deserved, turning home a ball delivered by substitute Paul Pogba. Moussa Sissoko scored France's last as Benzema unselfishly gave him the ball in the box and with it he beat the Swiss keeper. Switzerland scored two consolations late on as Blerim Dzemaili scored a sublime free kick that went through the wall and Granit Xhaka scored from close range past Hugo Lloris.

Didier Deschamps has many positives to take away from this dominant win but the most important is the performances put in by Benzema and Giroud. Both have rarely started together, but the pair looked sharp and clinical from the first whistle and integrated into the team fantastically. Benzema was brilliant on the ball and this led to him winning a penalty with his cheeky dribbling. He also used his play making attributes to grab two assists, and took his goal well as he slid the ball under Benaglio, having gotten over his penalty miss. Giroud on the other hand threatened Switzerland the most when on the left. From there he set up Valbuena. The Arsenal striker also scored France's 100th World Cup goal with a towering header, and was a great outlet throughout his time on the field before substituted for Pogba.

The performance put in by France shows that they look nothing like the country that self-destructed four years ago in South Africa. Under Dider Deschamps lyes a united team, and one that is spearheaded by two in-form strikers, and it has the potential to make up for it's shortcomings in the last World Cup and qualifying.

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