Friday, June 20, 2014

France dismantle the Swiss 5-2 in 2014 Fifa World Cup

France meant business from the start of their 5-2 demolition job of the Swiss, their team selection and offensive line-up being evidence of their serious intentions. They were so good that they had the luxury of squandering a penalty kick. Switzerland looked the part until the Olivier Giroud header from a corner conceded by Djourou. Benzema sprinted to meet a low cross from the right, only for the Swiss defender to clear his lines and play the ball over the by-line.

The corner kick taken from the right to the far post, drifted away from goal. Giroud was not tightly marked as he jumped above his marker to jerk-knife the header past the goalkeeper and the covering defender. The marking by the Swiss was bad and the challenge for the ball was token Moments from the restart, Karim Benzema stole a Swiss ball in midfield, charged towards goal and threaded a neat pass to his left for the scampering Motuidi who scored with his inside of the foot at the near post.

In almost a carbon copy of that goal, the Real Madrid gunman, received the long ball and sped with the ball, carried it into the penalty box on the left. Djourou challenged him despite the fact that he had little chance to score from the narrow angle he created. The referee gave a penalty. Benzema picked himself up and took the spot kick. Benaglio blocked the shot by diving to his right. Cabaye took advantage of a static Swiss defence and shot his attempt against the crossbar.

France grew in confidence and began to menace as they found spaces in the porous defence that had Senderos who came in to replace the injured Von Bergen. Switzerland lost concentration and compactness in defence. There was no cohesion between units and lost battles in defence and midfield. They could not exploit the open wing left by the attacking French defenders and failed to penetrate the central defence. They became naïve when faced with the French attacking power and vulnerable against counter attacks as they let Giroud pick up the ball from midfield and attack the left wing. He played the ball square for Valbuena to score with a first-time shot. There was no closing down of the cross and Valbuena popped up at the far post without a defender tracking his run. The defenders could do little sprinting facing their goalkeeper.

The second half started slowly as the French seemed content to wait and absorb all the pressure the Swiss threw at them. The Swiss were got the encouragement to engage the French seriously by pushing harder and further ahead creating clear-cut chances. They failed to capitalise as they hurried the shots and missed the target. After those scary moments, France lifted their act a notch up and passé the ball around. They found spaces on the right flank, exchanged a few passes. Paul Pogba’s clever cross found Benzema who finished it off by driving the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs. The French striker ran in front of the defence across the centre to meet the ball. Switzerland were guilty of not tracking his run. The goalkeeper came off his line and started flying in the air as the ball came, instead of staying on his feet to deal with the shot.

The former Fifa World Cup champions enjoyed a purple patch and increased the pace of their game. They found spaces left, right and centre. They won the ball in midfield on the left and interpassed their way into the attacking third to the left. Benzema played the ball to his right and Sissoko placed the ball into the net. Again, the marking was atrocious as the defenders were just ball watching. They seemed lost and unaware of the third-man running. They were neither compact nor tactical aware of the events around them.

France had it a little easy from that point on and became guilt of loss of concentration in midfield. They lost the hunger to fight and win the second ball. It was at that point that Switzerland scored two quick goals as they won a free-kick outside the penalty box. Hugo Lloris’ wall was porous at it let a hard and low Dzemaili strike nestle at the left bottom corner of the net. Lightining struck twic at the same place as quick exchanges on the right resulted in the long pass to the central position to Inler. The Swiss midfielder picked up a good run by Xhaka who hooked the ball with a first time shot past a bemused Lloris.

The referee stole the limelight from a goal infested game when he blew the whistle while the ball was enroute to goal when Benzema connected a volley from a pass delivered from the right wing. He celebrated the goal that never was, as did some French players. As much as France played very well, the Swiss defence was shocking.