The Brazilian city of Salvador saw France humiliate Switzerland 5-2 in an all-European clash in Group E of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ on Friday evening. With both teams winning their first matches in the group and not much between them in terms of the world rankings, one would have thought that a very closely fought battle was on the cards, but the French had other plans. Les Bleus took control of the match from the start and created a few chances early, but it was the Arsenal forward, Olivier Giroud who started the goal-fest with a neatly timed header from a corner in the 17th minute.
It was the 100th goal by France at the FIFA World Cup™. Only 66 seconds later Blaise Matuidi made it 2–0 after a mistake in the midfield by the Swiss led to a quick break by the French and a perfect finish at the near-post by the midfielder. The Swiss were on the back foot from that moment on and it seemed like nothing would go right for them when they conceded a penalty in the 32nd minute.
They would have had a glimmer of hope when the penalty shot from Karim Benzema was saved by keeper Diego Benaglio. Whatever hope they had was short-lived though when Mathieu Valbuena scored five minutes before half-time to make it 3-0. The second half continued in the same fashion as the 1998 champions controlled the match and seemed to be creating chances at will.
They extended their lead when Real Madrid forward, Benzema, scored his third goal of the tournament in the 67th minute and only six minutes later the scoreline read 5–0 after a precise finish from Moussa Sissoko. A rare chance for Switzerland resulted in a consolation goal with a well-struck free kick from midfielder Blerim Dzemaili with nine minutes left on the clock and just as one thought that surely there cannot be any more changes to the scoreline, the Swiss scored another one in the 87th minute to close off the night.
The last goal was scored by Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka who hit a perfectly timed volley on the left foot to restore some lost pride. Following their inconsistency in previous tournaments and their struggle to qualify, the French were not given any real chance by the pundits, but after a 3-0 victory over Honduras in their first match and a great display of class against Switzerland, one would think that they might just have what it takes to go very far from here.
They played with confidence and managed to create chances out of nothing. Their pace on the ball was too much for the Swiss and one feels that the French still had more left in the the tank. Les Bleus will play Ecuador on the 25th of June in their final Group E match and already have one foot in the Second Round while Switzerland will need to do it all against Honduras in the hope of continuing their stay in Brazil.