Have Les Bleus found a new attacking Holy Trinity? How Stats Zone saw Switzerland 2-5 France
The build-up to this Group E match was dominated by talk of how Switzerland's rigid defence would nullify France's fluid attack. Yet in the end, Les Bleus ran out comfortable winners, with their forward trio doing huge damage to Switzerland's chances of making the last 16.
Olivier Giroud headed Didier Deschamps' side into a 17th-minute lead, before Blaise Matuidi doubled France's advantage by tidyly sweeping home a through-ball from Karim Benzema.
But what exactly did the two teams get up to during those 66 seconds? Here's exactly what happened, as Switzerland kicked-off, before quickly giving the ball away...
Benzema only got on the scoresheet once, but will certainly feel it could have been more. Not only did he see a first-half penalty saved by Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio, but he also saw another strike ruled out when the referee blew for full-time just as the Real Madrid striker was queueing up a last-gasp effort from the edge of the box. He was also very assured in possession, completing all 15 of his passes in the attacking third.
Arsenal forward Giroud had reportedly made clear his displeasure at not being selected by Deschamps to start the Honduras match, and his performance against the Swiss backed his case perfectly. Like Benzema, he also nabbed a goal and an assist. Giroud may have only hit the target with 1 of his 3 shots, but he provided an aerial outlet when his team were under pressure and also made a surging run that helped created Mathieu Valbeuna's goal.
Speaking of Valbuena, the mini Marseille marvel was the third French star to notch on both the goals and assist tables. His early corner was headed in by Giroud for France's first (1 of 3 chances he created), with the Arsenal striker returning the favour by teeing up Valbuena for France's third after a rapid counter-attack.
Some of Switzerland's pain was also self-inflicted. Their centre-back pairing of Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos (an early substitute for the injured Steve von Bergen) both struggled. Neither won a single aerial duel, and between them they made just 6 clearances.
Switzerland can be confident Honduras won't test their defence in quite the same manner, improvement will still be needed. As for France, it would seem sensible not to get carried away, but they certainly look the part at this early stage of the tournament.
Facts and figures
- Olivier Giroud’s opening goal was France’s 100th goal at World Cup finals.
- Karim Benzema has scored 9 times in his last 9 appearances for France.
- The striker has played a hand in 5 of France’s 8 goals so far (3 goals and 2 assists).
- 3 French players scored a goal and assisted a goal in the win over Switzerland (Benzema, Valbuena and Giroud).
- Karim Benzema became the first player to miss a penalty at the 2014 World Cup. The first 7 spot-kicks were scored.
- Blerim Dzemaili scored the first goal from a direct free-kick of the tournament. He had the 45th attempt from such a situation.
- France have scored 3 or more goals in consecutive World Cup matches for the first time since the 1998 group stages.
- Switzerland conceded as many goals against France as they had shipped in their previous 9 World Cup matches (5).
- The last time Switzerland conceded 5 goals in a single World Cup game was in 1996 (0-5 v Germany).
- The last World Cup match to boast seven different scorers was Hungary v El Salvador in 1982 (also 7 scorers).
- 10 of Switzerland’s last 12 goals at the World Cup have come in the second half.
- France are unbeaten in their last 6 clashes with the Swiss national team (W3 D3).
- There have been 17 goals scored in the 3 matches at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.