World Cup 2014: Flowing goals put France in the mood to go all the way

Partnership between Benzema and Giroud acts as a spearhead for Deschamps’ unified squad

Salvador

If there is no place for World Cup goals quite like Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova where France put five past Switzerland on Friday, the view of their coach, Didier Deschamps, is that the spirit of attacking football is proving contagious right across Brazil.

France’s 5-2 rout of Switzerland means Les Bleus already have eight goals at this World Cup, which is one shy of their total of nine when they finished runners-up in 2006. It also means that 17 have been scored in three matches alone in Salvador, which prompted Deschamps to say: “I think something is inspiring all the teams, in short it is an open World Cup.”

According to Deschamps, “teams are playing quickly” – or at least the successful ones – and France look well equipped to prosper on the evidence of an evening when they destroyed Switzerland with the kind of rapid transitions that the Netherlands had previously employed when routing Spain at the same venue.

Karim Benzema was at the forefront of their victory. The Swiss defence could not handle the Real Madrid forward’s movement as he scored one goal and set up two more, and Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud also shone on his first start in Brazil, heading the opening goal and providing an assist for Mathieu Valbuena.

 

As the Swiss defender Johan Djourou admitted  afterwards: “Olivier keeps the ball well and Benzema finds space. They are good on the counterattack and if you lose the ball you have to watch them.”

It was a performance that prompted L’Equipe to ask the question “Just where can they go?” and Moussa Sissoko, the Newcastle midfielder, believes that the attacking pair can help France to travel far in the tournament.

“Our forwards are playing with confidence,” said Sissoko, who scored his first international goal when netting France’s fifth. “There’s a lot of interplay, passes at the right moment, with Karim setting up Olivier and Olivier setting up Karim, and with those two we can go a long way.”

Les Blues run riot against the Swiss in goal extravaganza

Benzema spoke positively of the partnership with Giroud – “we have a trust, we play off each other” – and with three goals to his name already in Brazil, he  was sounding very much like a man in the mood. “I am feeling happy with myself but I can do even better.”

Indeed he might have had a second goal on the night but he saw a brilliant strike count for naught because the final whistle had already blown.

That recalled an incident in the 1978 World Cup when the Welsh referee Clive Thomas blew to end the match just as Zico was heading what would have been a winning Brazil goal against Sweden.

That decision meant that Brazil finished second in the group and had to face Argentina in the next round but France should avoid that fate because with two straight wins in Group E, they have all but mathematically secured qualification in first place, with a game against Ecuador to come.

The French players even look the part off the pitch – filing through the mixed zone in blue suits while the Swiss ambled past in shorts and  T-shirts – and the difference from their appearance four years ago in South Africa is stark. The victory over Switzerland came on the anniversary of that infamous player mutiny, but this time there is only a message of unity coming out of the camp.

“We’re very pleased with the performance and we’ll try to repeat it against Ecuador,” Benzema said. “I enjoyed the match, but when we get awards such as this one, it’s down to the efforts of the team. We played as a team. We had heart to win that game.

“I am in my head, 100 per cent, but I can do even better. I also take the work of my teammates. It’s not me, it’s everyone. Even those who did not start the first game and who have returned for this one.”

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn