France edged closer to a last 16 berth, after trouncing Switzerland in the second of their Group E matches on Friday.
Paris St. Germain forward Blaise Matuidi and Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud scored two quick-fire goals in the space of 66 seconds to get another goal galore started at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
Olympique des Marseilles playmaker Mathieu Valbuena added a third after fluid-like counter-attacking movement by the ‘Les Blues’.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who missed a first-half penalty, scored his third goal of the tournament minutes after the hour mark, before Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko added a fifth.
A frantic final ten minutes of the proceedings had the Swiss come up with two consolation goals, as substitute Blerim Dzemaili’s free-kick pierced the French wall into the bottom-right corner of Hugo Lloris net and Granit Xhaka beat an offside trap to blast past the Tottenham Hotspur first choice.
Victory for Ecuador in the other Group E match of the day means the 1998 champions need a point from their final group game against the North Americans to confirm their status as one of the last 16s.
It is the second time coach Didier Deschamps’s side has won their opening two World Cup group matches since the ex-Marseille, Juventus, Chelsea and Valencia midfielder lifted the trophy on home soil 16 years ago.
Salvador could as well be labeled ‘goalfest city’ of the ongoing tournament, having recorded 17 goals already in three games of the 9-day-old championship.
The match started as a ding-dong affair, before a head injury forced Swiss defender Steve Von Bergen out following a collision with Yohan Cabaye’s stray boot. New Aston Villa defender Philippe Senderos came on for his injured team-mate and alongside former Arsenal mate Yohan Djorou sought to protect goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.
Any form of protection the pair had planned to render refused to hold water as Giroud prodded a clinical header from a corner kick in the 17th minute- France’s 100th goal in the World Cup.
Ex-West Ham midfielder Velon Behrami sloppily conceded possession straight from the restart, only for Matuidi to double France’s lead seconds later.
Coach Ottmar Hitzfield could have thought another great revival was on the card when Xhaka bundled the ball home on 27 minute, but the linesman’s flag happened to be quicker than the strike.
Dutch Referee Bjorn Kuipers signaled for a spot-kick when Djorou hacked Bezema down in the box, however; the striker’s low effort was kept out by Benaglio before Debuchy smashed the rebound against the woodwork.
A devastating counter-attacking move begot France’s third five minutes to the break, as Giroud raced clear down the left to pick out the surging run of Valbuena, who timely tapped home from the edge of the box.
France did not look to have suggested any sympathy for fellow Francophone neighbour during the half-time break, and Benzema poked his shot through the legs of Bengalio for his side’s fourth, following substitute Paul Pogba’s through ball.
Benzema teed up Sissoko in the 73rd minute, and the latter effort beat Bengalio into the bottom corner of the net.
Dzemaili forced his free-kick from 40 yards through the jumping French wall into Lloris’ bottom right corner nine minutes to the dead, before Xhaka beat an offside trap blast a terrific strike past a stranded France goalie.
Every chance of a late Swiss fightback was too late and France thought they had re-registered their four-goal cushion when Benzema riffled the ball into the top corner, but not before Kuipers’s final whistle.