Scottish Daily Mail

Deschamps’ destroyers steamroll sorry Swiss


France strolled past a shell-shocked Switzerlan­d in Salvador last night to effectivel­y seal their place in the last 16. Didier Deschamp’s team ruthlessly t ore apart t heir helpless opponents as they followed on from their impressive opening victory over Honduras.

Olivier Giroud headed home the opener for Les Bleus in the 17th minute with team-mate Blaise Matuidi swiftly adding a second.

Mathieu Valbuena put France three up shortly before the break after a devastatin­g display of counter-attacking football, with Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko adding to the French tally after the interval.

Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka grabbed late consolatio­ns for the Swiss but this was a pummelling.

Switzerlan­d have long boasted a fine defensive record at World cups but France tore them apart with a first half of pace, pressure and poise that left their opponents l ooking bewildered. How much of that was down to Steve v on Bergen’s exit after just eight minutes wit h a suspected fractured cheekbone is open to speculatio­n.

What is clear is that after he was forced off to hospital, following a brutal connection with Giroud’s high boot, Switzerlan­d developed more holes than one of their famous cheeses.

new aston Villa defender Philippe Senderos arrived to join his ex-arsenal team-mate Johan Djourou and both showed why they are no longer in arsene Wenger’s ranks.

at a corner shortly after the quarter-hour mark, a current resident of north London put France ahead.

Yohan cabaye swung across an out-swinging corner and Giroud rose unchalleng­ed to power a header at goal. Diego Benaglio got fingers to the ball but only succeeded in diverting it over the man on the line.

It was France’s 100th goal at a World cup finals and reward for Deschamps in restoring Giroud to the starting line-up.

Within 13 seconds of the restart France went 2- 0 up. Valon Behrami played a blind pass and Benzema pounced, advancing sharply and releasing Matuidi down the left channel. The Paris Sai n t - Germain midfielder whipped a left-foot shot that beat Benaglio at his near post when it really shouldn’t have.

It was two goals conceded by Switzerlan­d in 66 seconds, the same amount as they had allowed in the previous 750 minutes of World cup action spread over eight years. In 2006 they were knocked out without letting in one.

They did respond for a brief flicker when admir Mehmedi ran through midfield and unleashed a low shot that Hugo Lloris could only palm to Xherdan Shaqiri. The Liverpool target was deni e d only by t he most slender of touches by the Tottenham goalkeeper that went undetected by the officials. The Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers was more alert in the 31st minute when he correctly gave France a penalty for a clumsy challenge by Djourou on Benzema.

The real Madrid striker, who bagged two in the opening game, stepped up to take the spot-kick but was denied by Benaglio.

It seemed certain cabaye would put the rebound in as he advanced onto the falling ball but the ex- newcastle man curiously chose to volley rather than head and crashed it against the bar.

nine minutes l ater, France would have t heir t hird in breathtaki­ng fashion. The Swiss had a corner but 14 seconds and four passes later the ball was in their net.

Benzema fed raphael Varane, who produced a sublime pass to t he galloping Giroud. The arsenal striker squared it to Valbuena at the far post and the diminutive midfielder applied a finish. It was stunning stuff on a night of French supremacy.

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