Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 9th 2014 Contents A69
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LILLE---France heads to Brazil with
its confidence high after rounding off
its World Cup warm-up matches by
thrashing Jamaica 8-0 yesterday, with
striker Karim Benzema scoring two
and creating two in an impressive dis-
play of attacking football.
Benzema picked out Oliver Giroud
for France s fourth goal and also created
the second for midfielder Blaise Matu-
idi, who in turn set up Benzema s sec-
Star winger Franck Ribery was ruled
out of the World Cup on Friday because
of a lingering back injury but his
absence could work in France s favour
as the teamwork looks much improved.
"We ve lost a world-class player,"
France coach Didier Deschamps said.
"He s not here, but we have other play-
ers. It s about having collective
Giroud set up the opener for mid-
fielder Yohan Cabaye, left back Patrice
Evra crossed for Matuidi s second of
the night, and Antoine Griezmann
came off the bench to score two clinical
"It s not easy to score eight goals.
It s good for confidence, although we
won t be over-confident," Deschamps
said. "We played with a lot of mobility,
and there was a good understanding
between the players."
Less than a year ago, Benzema was
fighting for his place after a dismal
run of 15 games without a goal, but
has scored six in his past six and his
international tally has improved to a
respectable 21 in 66.
This was France s heaviest win since
a 10-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan in 1995.
Without Ribery, Deschamps will like-
ly play with Benzema in a roaming role
and Giroud at center forward against
Honduras in their Group E match on
Sunday. The French then play Switzer-
land and Ecuador.
France created early pressure, and
Giroud went close to heading in Math-
ieu Valbuena s teasing cross from the
The defence remains vulnerable to
set pieces, however, and defender Adri-
an Mariappa almost gave the visitors
a surprise lead.
France took the lead in the 17th
minute with a well-worked team goal.
Valbuena found space on the edge
of the penalty area, looped the ball up
to Giroud, who held off a defender
before nodding the ball down to
Cabaye. Sprinting into space, the PSG
midfielder expertly controlled the ball
on his chest before volleying home as
he he slid along the ground.
The second goal came just three
minutes later, as Benzema picked out
Matuidi, and the PSG midfielder
smacked the ball inside the left post
from 20 meters.
Benzema got his first in the 38th,
playing a quick one-two with Valbuena
on the edge of the box, before cutting
inside his marker and curling the ball
inside the right post.
Benzema showed his passing is just
as good when, in the 53rd, he peeled
away down the left flank and picked
out Giroud with a tight, curling pass
and the Arsenal forward finished with
a powerful shot into the left corner for
his third goal in three games.
Benzema got his second in the 63rd
with another emphatic finish, collecting
Matuidi s clever reverse pass and hitting
an unstoppable shot into the top left
corner. Three minutes later, Matuidi
showed his finishing skills when he
ran onto Evra s cross and clipped the
ball past goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett.
After Jamaica lost possession in mid-
field, Valbuena passed to Benzema,
who returned the pass only for Val-
buena to lose his balance as he tried
to control the ball. Griezmann was on
hand to collect it, swivel and finish
neatly in the 77th.
His next goal, a back-heel flick in
the 89th, was even better.
French soccer player Karim Benzema, left, reacts after scoring
against Jamaica with Blaise Matuidi during the friendly soccer
match between France and Jamaica at the Lille Metropole stadium,
in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, yesterday. AP PHOTO
France thrashes Jamaica
in final warm-up match
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