Benzema brace fires France past Estonia

Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery were a class apart as France put the finishing touches on their Euro 2012 preparations with a 4-0 home win against Estonia in Le Mans on Tuesday.

Benzema netted either side of half-time after Ribery had opened the scoring following a fine one-two with the striker as Les Bleus stretched their unbeaten run to 21 matches.

Winger Jeremy Menez completed the rout in stoppage time.

With Samir Nasri and Ribery on the flanks and Benzema up front, France played some nice one-touch football although they sometimes looked shaky at the back.

"It's important to gain confidence, it's important for the strikers to score goals but, despite the scoreline, I think the team were not as good as against Serbia [a 2-0 win in their last friendly]," coach Laurent Blanc told French TV channel TF1.

"We were not good in defence. We need to play it more simple at the back. We are like the other teams, we hope to be ready on June 11," he added referring to their opening match against England in Group D being played in Donestsk, Ukraine.

After full-back Patrice Evra produced a miserable performance in a 3-2 win against Iceland in their first of three Euro warm-up games, it was Philippe Mexes's turn to raise concerns.


Estonia almost caught France cold twice in the opening 15 minutes, with a poor first touch from centre-back Mexes allowing midfielder Henrik Ojamaa to shoot narrowly wide across goal.

Ojamaa then got ahead of Mexes to meet a left wing cross but, off balance, could only volley wide.

Laurent Blanc's side went ahead in the 25th minute when Ribery chested down a Benzema pass just inside the box before firing past Sergei Pareiko with a cross shot.

Seven minutes before the break, Benzema sent a curling shot into the far corner of the net to double the tally and scored his 15th goal for France by latchig onto Ribery's cross from the right.

Second-half substitute Menez added the fourth one minute into added time when he collected a fine backheel pass from Olivier Giroud to score from close range.

France travel to Ukraine on Wednesday before taking on England followed by co-hosts Ukraine and Sweden in Group D.