France manager, Didier Deschamps, decided to change the dynamic of his team for this game, opting to go with Oliver Giroud as the central striker while going with Moussa Sissoko in the midfield. Moussa Sissoko provides Deschamps another box-to-box midfielder alongside Blaise Matuidi and Giroud provides the aerial threat that the French were lacking in their previous game. Also because Paul Pogba is already on a yellow card, he did not want to risk losing his young star player for their next game and opted to start him on the bench.
France was off to a great start, unlike their previous game against Honduras. Karim Benzema’s first attempt on goal looked promising as he tried to curl it toward the far post, but it went just wide in the 6th minute.
One of the key moments in the game was when Steve von Bergen of Swiss was substituted in the 9th minute because of an injury sustained when he collided with Oliver Giroud. Philippe Senderos was his replacement and the Swiss defense was never the same ever since.
France kept on attacking the Swiss defense and their persistence paid off during a corner kick. Giroud was able to leap over the Swiss defenders and head home the opener from a great delivery by Valbuena in the 17th minute. The Swiss goalkeeper, Diego Benaglio, was able to put a hand on it, but was unable to keep the ball out of the net.
And France wasn’t done there.
A poor back pass from the restart was intercepted by Benzema and France once again attacked and hungry for more goals. Benzema then lays a decent pass toward Matuidi in stride and he slots the ball to the near post and just like that France is up 2-0 in the 18th minute.
Benaglio should have done better with the goal as he was beaten on the near post, but he makes up for it later in the game.
Swiss was able to attack quite a bit after the two goals, but was unable to find the back of the net. They made too many costly errors and allowed the French to attack with venom.
Johan Djourou made a silly challenge inside the box on Benzema resulting in a penalty in the 32nd minute. An unnecessary foul by the Swiss defender as Benzema was going nowhere. But the resulting penalty taken by Benzema was denied by Benaglio and even the rebound, pounced on by Yohan Cabaye, was denied by the crossbar, failing to score in two attempts. It was a horrible miss by both players and Swiss were able to dodge a bullet there.
France was at it again when they were able to defend the Swiss corner kick superbly and initiated the counter attack. Raphael Varane started it off and was able to get the loose ball and passed it out toward Giroud. With acres of space and no defender in sight, Giroud dribbled it toward the box and crossed the ball to Valbuena, who slotted in their third goal of the game in the 40th minute.
The first half ended with France was dominating the game and continued their dominance in the second half.
Although their offense and goal scoring abilities have taken over the headlines in the first half, their defense was also impeccable, stopping the Swiss attack in the first half and continued to do so in the second half.
Swiss had a great opportunity right from the start of the half in the 47th minute, but an excellent tackle by the Liverpool central defender, Mamadou Sakho, stopped the attack.
Then, they picked up right where they left off in the second half. Pogba, who did not start in this game for protection reasons, lobbed a great ball toward the box and Benzema was able to get there first and slotted in the fourth goal in the 67th minute. It was Benzema’s third goal of the tournament, who is now tied for first in the golden boot race with three goals.
France was at it again when a Benzema picked out Sissoko out on the wing and slotted in his first goal in the World Cup in the 73rd minute.
The French were able to exploit the poor Swiss central defence pairings, Djourou and Senderous, as they are not known to mark players very well. They allowed too much space for the French to operate and were punished heavily by the them. The substitution may have impacted the Swiss defensive tactics, and may have not, but they need to address their defensive issues if they are to progress through the group stages.
The Swiss, however, were able to score some consolation goals that will help with their goal differential to qualify for the round of 16.
France, knowing the games already over, showed some complacency as they invited the Swiss to attack while their passes seemed pretty lackluster.
A great free kick by Bleim Dzemaili was able to beat the French skipper, Hugo Lloris in the 81st minute. A mistake by Benzema, who was part of the three man wall, allowed the shot go through him and into the back of the net.
And they added another goal when their skipper, Gokan Inler, lobbed a great ball toward Granit Xhaka, who slotted in their second goal of the game in the 87th minute. The French defense seemed to be asleep as they did not coordinate their back-line and allowed Xhaka to sneak behind the defense.
The game ended with a non-goal by Benzema, whose shot was able to find the back of the net but the whistle had already blown for full-time.
France seemed very comfortable with one another, with crisp and creative passing, allowing all the French players to take part in the French attack. This is troublesome for opposing defenders as they will not know where the goals will come from. The midfielders can score as well as the front men; this is a very dangerous team moving forward.Although their oppositions have been average at best, they were still able to control the game quite comfortably.
Benzema was at it again as he piled on the stat sheets with a goal and two assists. He could have had two goals or maybe three, but his finishing let him down ultimately. But, the fact that other players on the team are capable of scoring, it definitely takes the burden off his shoulders to score all the time.
With this win, France is at the top of the table comfortably with 6 points and a great goal differential with plus 6. They would have to win or draw in order to move on in their next game against Ecuador, or else their chances of moving on could be in jeopardy should they lose.