Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2014 Contents A70
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, June 21, 2014
Giroud and Karim Benzema
each scored one goal and cre-
ated another as a rampant
France blew away Switzerland
5-2 yesterday to take control of
Group E and all but seal a place
in the next round.
France has six points and can
qualify if Ecuador and Honduras
draw later Friday.
Giroud and Blasie Matuidi
scored a minute apart and Math-
ieu Valbuena added another to
give France a 3-0 halftime lead.
Benzema made up for a first-
half penalty miss with a poacher s
finish in the 67th, and then
turned provider for Moussa Sis-
soko, who made it 5-0 with a
neat side-footed effort in the
Switzerland pulled two con-
solation goals back as Blerim
Dzemaili scored with a free kick
in the 81st and Granit Xhaka
slotted in the second in the 87th.
Benzema thought he had
scored his second---and the goal
of the night---but his curling,
first-time strike was ruled out
because Dutch referee Bjorn
Kuipers blew his whistle for full
time just seconds before the shot.
Friday marked the fourth
anniversary of France s infamous
World Cup training ground strike
four years ago in South Africa,
when the players shamed a
nation back home.
How different things look
France has scored eight goals
in two games and Benzema
could even afford to miss a
penalty against a poor Swiss side
that failed to live up to its rep-
utation as one of the hardest
teams around to break down.
Giroud had distinguished
himself the wrong way early on.
In the sixth minute, centre half
Steve Von Bergen came off with
blood pouring down from under
his left eye after Giroud kicked
him in the face challenging for
Von Bergen was replaced by
Philippe Senderos and things
went from bad to awful from
then on as Switzerland s
makeshift defense simply could
not cope with the ferocious pace
of France s breaks from midfield
and the slick movement of its
interchanging forward line.
Deschamps had dropped mid-
fielder Paul Pogba, who was
lucky not to be sent off against
Honduras for aiming a wild kick
at Wilson Palacios, warning him
that he needs to control his tem-
After coming on as a substi-
tute, Pogba sent an exquisite
pass with the outside of his right
boot that had Senderos kicking
at air, and Benzema finished
confidently for his third goal of
the tournament. The Real
Madrid forward then instigated
a move and waited for Sissoko
to break down the right, serving
him with an inch-perfect pass.
Deschamps waved his hands
in frustration after Switzerland s
second goal, but it was his sub-
Sakho with Laurent Koscielny
---that unsettled the defence.
The Swiss conceded too easily
throughout the game.
Giroud jumped above Behrami
from near the back of the penal-
ty area to head powerfully under
the crossbar in the 17th minute.
Then, Valon Behrami gave the
ball away to Benzema, who fed
Matuidi sprinting down the left,
and the Paris Saint-Germain
midfielder slotted neatly inside
the near post.
The Swiss had only one shot
on target in the first half, with
goalkeeper Hugo Lloris diving
low to keep out Mehmedi s drive.
Shaqiri picked up the rebound
and scuffed a low shot that rolled
That close miss went unpun-
ished by Benzema, who missed
from the spot after being tripped
by Johan Djourou in the 32nd.
Yohan Cabaye hit the crossbar
from the rebound.
It mattered little as France
caught Switzerland with a classic
counterattack, Giroud galloping
into space down the left and
picking out Valbuena at the back
Valbuena sprinted over to
jump on Giroud as he gave him
a celebratory piggy back-ride.
Lively France takes control
Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri is
tripped by France's Moussa Sissoko
during the group E World Cup soccer
match between Switzerland and France
at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil,
yesterday. (AP PHOTO)
PERNAMBUCO---Costa Rica cast
aside their status as Group D
minnows to inflict a surprise
defeat on Italy and in doing so
bring an abrupt end to England s
Bryan Ruiz s impressive header
was enough as the Ticos won 1-
0 to become the first team to guar-
antee qualification from Group D.
Italy and Uruguay will battle it
out for the other qualification
spot---the Azzurri need only a
draw---but England will only be
playing for pride in Belo Horizonte
Costa Rica showed their 3-1 win
over Uruguay was no fluke as they
took the game to Italy in impressive
Celso Borges headed over from
a corner early on, but it was Italy s
Mario Balotelli who had the best
of the chances in the first half-
First, Andrea Pirlo s glorious ball
over the top dropped perfectly for
Balotelli, who controlled it with
one touch and then lofted it over
the on-rushing keeper Keylor
Navas but it bounced well-wide
and the former Manchester City
striker held his head in his hands.
Two minutes later and Balotelli
was in again, this time he went
for power but too close to Navas,
and the Costa Rica keeper was able
to claim at the second attempt.
With half-time looming, Costa
Rica were denied a blatant penal-
ty.Joel Campbell, the Arsenal strik-
er on loan at Olympiakos, inter-
cepted a pass, surged into the
penalty box and was knocked over
from behind by Giorgio Chiellini
but Chilean referee Enrique Osses
inexplicably waved play on
Costa Rica did not let that put
them off their stride however and
Junior Diaz exceptional cross from
the left saw Fulham striker Ruiz,
leaving his marker Chiellini in no
man s land, thump a far-post
header in off the crossbar. It
bounced a foot over the line but
goal-line technology ensured there
was not another travesty of jus-
Italy upped their game after the
break, realising defeat would leave
them vulnerable against Uruguay,
with Parma striker Antonio Cas-
sano coming on for defensive mid-
fielder Thiago Motta.
Balotelli claimed a penalty of
his own under challenge from
Oscar Duarte, but it was not nearly
so clear-cut as Costa Rica s the
referee once again turned away.
Italy mounted a series of attacks
but Navas was having a blinder
in the Costa Rica goal, first tipping
over Matteo Darmian s angled
drive, and then turning aside
Pirlo s free-kick after Cassano had
hurled himself to the floor to earn
it.Costa Rica still looked dangerous
on the break and Gianluigi Buffon
had to be quick out of his goal to
clear the danger with Campbell
about to pounce.
Italy continued to hustle and
bustle but the Ticos kept the dan-
ger away from their goal, while at
the other end Chiellini s block
denied substitute Marcos Urena.
Randall Brenes was a yard away
from scoring a sensational second
in injury time but it mattered
not---Costa Rica were through and
England s fate was sealed.
Costa Rica puts Italy in danger
WORLD CUP GLANCE
Italy 0 vs Costa Rica 1 (Bryan Ruiz 44)
Switzerland 2 (Blerim Dzamali 81, Granit
Xhaka 87) vs France 5 (Olivier Giroud 17,
Blaise Matuidi 18, Mathieu Valbuena 40,
Karim Benzema 67, Mqussa Sissoko 73)
Honduras 1 (Carlo Costly 31) vs Ecuador 2
(Enner Valencia 65, 34)
Argentina vs Iran,
Argentina have won ten and lost just one of
their last 13 World Cup group games (D2),
scoring 26 and conceding just five in total in this
Argentina have failed to keep a clean sheet in
their last three World Cup games, the last time
they failed to do so in four successive matches
was in the 1980s (1982/86).
The last two goals Iran have scored at World
Cups have come from corners (both in 2006);
Five of the last nine goals Iran have conceded at
World Cups have been headed.
Nigeria vs Bosnia,
Nigeria haven't won any of their last nine World
Cup games (D3 L6), their last victory was a 1-0
over Bulgaria in 1998.
Vedad Ibisevic netted Bosnia-Herzegovina's first
ever World Cup goal against Argentina. He had
already found the net eight times in the
European World Cup qualifiers.
Bosnia-Herzegovina attempted more shots at
goal (11) than their opponents Argentina (9) in
the opening match.
Germany vs Ghana,
Germany have won their two previous games
against Ghana, in a friendly on April 14 1993 (6-
1) and in the World Cup group stages on June
23 2010 (1-0).
Thomas Müller has scored eight goals in seven
World Cup games and seven in his last four.
Ghana have failed to keep a clean sheet in their
last five World Cup games. They have conceded
just six goals in the process, however.
USA vs Portugal, Manaus, 6 p.m.
Belgium vs Russia, Rio de Janeiro, noon
Korea vs Algeria, Porto Alegre, 3 pm
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