Friday, 20 June 2014

Brazil WC 2014 - Switzerland vs France, LIVE COMMENTARY:

Hello again everyone, and welcome to my latest blog post - another LIVE Commentary from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. This is the second group stage match in Group E, with Switzerland playing against France in an interesting match-up between two sides both eager to progress to the Last 16 of the competition.

Both teams won their respective opening matches last week, with France destroying Honduras 3-0, while Switzerland left it late to beat Ecuador 2-1. 

Here are the team line-ups for the upcoming match, with France the outright favourites to win this game - 

Switzerland: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner, Djourou, von Bergen, Ricardo Rodriguez, Behrami, Inler, Shaqiri, Xhaka, Mehmedi and Seferovic.

Subs: Sommer, Ziegler, Senderos, Lang, Barnetta, Stocker, Dzemaili, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Schar and Burki.

France: Lloris, Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra, Sissoko, Cabaye, Matuidi, Valbuena, Giroud and Benzema. 

Subs: Ruffier, Landreau, Mavuba, Mangala, Sagna, Digne, Pogba, Koscielny, Remy, Cabella, Griezmann and Schneiderlin

20:00 - The referee blows his whistle to start the match, after the national anthems are sung and the pre-match handshakes take place. 

1: A few changes to the France side today; Pogba, Koscielny and Griezmann among a strong substitutes bench for Les Bleus. 

A more defensive-minded approach taken by manager Didier Deschamps, he wants to rest some of his key players while making sure that the team are strong enough to win the game. 

2: Slightly surprised that newly-announced Bayer Leverkusen striker Josip Drmic and Basel midfielder Valentin Stocker are both on the bench for Switzerland, but it will be interesting to see whether Shaqiri and Ricardo Rodriguez can do well going forward.

4: CHANCE! Karim Benzema almost scores his 3rd goal of the tournament so far, to cap off a quick, effective counter attack by France. 

The Real Madrid striker turns his marker inside out before turning the ball onto his right foot and firing a curling effort towards goal - but his resulting shot fizzes past the crossbar and out for a goal-kick.

5: Foul, albeit accidental from Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud who collides with Switzerland defender Steve Von Bergen.

6: Replays show that the Arsenal man accidentally kicked Von Bergen in the face; in an aerial challenge for the ball. No yellow card given, there was a clear attempt to win the ball and it was unfortunate that there was someone on the receiving end of his boot to the face. 

7: Painful blow for Von Bergen, the physio rush onto the field and he's clutching his face - doesn't look as though he will be able to continue.

Painful, unable to continue: Von Bergen was led off the pitch by the physio, after injuring his face
8: Switzerland SUB:
Steve Von Bergen OFF
Phillipe Senderos ON

12: France have dominated possession in the early stages, Switzerland can't get a foothold on the game so far. 

16: GOAL! France ahead! And it's Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud with the goal that sets Les Bleus in-front!

An inviting delivery into the box by Valbuena from a corner-kick, Giroud jumps above the static defenders around him to head powerfully into the top corner, despite Benaglio diving acrobatically to try and parry it away, to no avail.

Giroud jumps highest to exploit a static Swiss defence and break the deadlock with a header
Clinical: Arsenal striker Giroud celebrates his header, on his return to the national side
17: GOAL! 2 goals in the space of a minute! France go on the counter attack quickly and the Switzerland defenders are on the backfoot, a through ball by Benzema into the path of PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi who slots a powerfully low shot past Benaglio at his near post to stun Switzerland. 2-0 to France! Wow.
Quick-fire double: PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi celebrates his low drive past Benaglio
18: That's Matuidi's second goal for France, while Giroud caps his return to the national side with a goal inside the first 20 minutes.

19: Prior to today, Switzerland have only conceded 2 goals in their last 8 World Cup matches. 2 goals in the space of a minute.

23: Switzerland being hit twice in the space of a minute or so, highlights their lack of concentration and poor defensive contribution. Benaglio arguably shouldn't be beaten at his near post though.

24: The Swiss don't seem to have a real game plan, France doing well to shut them out and they have not had a notable chance as of yet. 2-0 down after 24 minutes doesn't help though.

25: Half-chance for France, Benzema almost makes it 3-0 with a solo effort from the centre circle, the striker gallops forward past two defenders and avoiding the oncoming challenge from Behrami to strike towards goal - but his shot is low and straight into the path of Benaglio, who comfortably holds the ball in his grasp.

26: Glad to see that Benzema is confident, but not too confident. He is working hard, and has got his reward. 2 goals in the opening match, and an assist today. 

27: A Switzerland free-kick ends up with the ball in the back of the net for the Swiss side, thanks to a cool finish by Xhaka past Lloris, who is rooted to the spot.

But, unlucky for them - it's offside. Good defensive movement from France, the danger was partially averted and they pushed their defenders forward to leave the Switzerland attackers offside. 

29: CHANCE! Better from Switzerland, they go on the counter attack and Bayern winger Xherdan Shaqiri has an effort parried by the fingertips of Lloris as he fails to hit the ball with a clean contact, but the referee signals for a goal-kick.

31: PENALTY! Un-needed challenge by former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou, who trips Benzema up near the touchline after Switzerland lose the ball on the flank - and the referee has no choice but to point to the spot. 

32: Benzema steps up to take the penalty.... SAVED! and the rebound hits the crossbar! Benzema slots his penalty into the corner of the net, but Benaglio reads it well to dive quickly and parry away - but the ball falls to the path of the oncoming Cabaye, who rushes his effort and it hits the crossbar!

Quick reactions: Benaglio guesses the right away to parry Benzema's penalty strike away
33: France are unlucky not to be 3-0 up, Switzerland should take this as a warning. 

38: Good recovery by Behrami, who does well to dispossess Benzema of the ball in the area. Still 2-0, France looking dangerous though.

40: GOAL! It was coming. France are now 3-0 up, with 5 minutes to play until half-time. Switzerland caught out again on the counter attack, a great long through ball by Varane sets Giroud off sprinting down the wing. 

Giroud with a low cross into the box, Mathieu Valbuena runs into space in the area to latch onto the delivery and tap past Benaglio and make it 3!

41: It has been deserved though, France have looked superb at times against a sloppy Switzerland side that are being dominated. 

45: The fourth official has signalled for 2 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the half.

45+2: And that's the half over with. 3-0 to France, thoroughly deserved.

Sloppy from Switzerland, taken apart by a comfortable French side who are on the verge of progressing through to the Last 16. 

21:04 - The second-half is about to begin, with a change being prepared for Switzerland. 

45: Switzerland SUB - 
Valon Behrami OFF
Blerim Dzemali ON

47: Benzema with a cute lay-off in the area; Giroud has a half-chance blocked by an oncoming Swiss defender, France corner. Les Bleus always looking dangerous on the counter attack, and there are still some goals left in them yet.

48: The resulting corner is dealt with by the Switzerland defence, as confirmation is announced that Swiss defender Steve Von Bergen has gone to hospital with a suspected fractured cheekbone.

49: Hopefully he has a speedy recovery, the only outfield player in the Swiss side today over 30 years old.

50: Fair play by Switzerland, an improved start to the second half - good passing and movement but a lack of end product means that they are yet to score. 

51: Shaqiri is brought down near the flank towards the edge of the area by Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who mis-times his attempted challenge and brings down the Bayern winger in a heap.

52: Switzerland free-kick to take, and Shaqiri is standing over it. The delivery into the box is powerful and low, but dealt with by the French defence. 

54: A half-chance for France almost ends in another goal for them. 

A loose attempted pass by newly-announced Aston Villa defender Phillipe Senderos (anyone remember him from Arsenal?) drops to the feet of Matuidi who sprints forward and passes the ball into the path of Benzema, who shifts the ball onto the foot of team-mate Giroud standing next to him under less pressure than himself.

Giroud takes an ambitious effort from 25 yards out, but his shot is dragged wide and Benaglio is not called into action. Unlucky from the Arsenal striker, the shot was powerful and low but had no swerve or curve on the ball, otherwise it would have been on-target.

56: Napoli midfielder Dzemali with a half-decent shooting opportunity from 20 yards out after some good play by the Swiss in the French half. 

Dzemali rushes the shot under pressure from oncoming defenders and despite having a decent strike on goal, the effort swerves over the bar and fails to trouble Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

58: Good link-up play between Benzema and Giroud in the area, but neither can have an attempt on goal as Switzerland scramble the ball to safety.

62: France SUB - 
Olivier Giroud OFF
Paul Pogba ON

63: Pogba replaces Giroud, who has worked hard today and got a goal and an assist for his efforts. Pogba was given a yellow card in their opening game against Honduras, and was rested for the most part of this match - but will get a 30 minute run-out as France adopt the lone striker approach as they look to close out the match as a contest.

64: CHANCE! A half-chance for Switzerland almost ends up with a goal for the Swiss, who have started brightly in the second-half. Mehmedi rushes towards goal with the ball trickling towards him, but Lloris sprints out and closes him down. Good goalkeeping.

65: France SUB - 
Mamadou Sakho OFF
Laurent Koscielny ON

Sakho looks to be struggling with a knock, being replaced as a precautionary measure. 

66: GOAL! It's 4-0! France continue from where they left off in the first-half, with Benzema getting on the scoresheet! 

Superbly-timed through ball by substitute Paul Pogba into the area for an un-marked Benzema to toe-poke the ball through Benaglio's legs into the net. From bad to worse.

Through the legs: Benzema latches onto Pogba's super through ball to make it 4-0
Golden Boot contender: Benzema celebrates his 3rd goal in 2 matches with his team-mates
70: Switzerland SUB - 
Haris Seferovic OFF
Josip Drmic ON

72: GOAL! It's getting ugly now. 5-0 to France. 
Another counter attack, Matuidi runs onto the ball and passes across to Benzema, who looks up and finds Sissoko lurking on his right un-marked, threading through a pass into his feet. 

No chance of missing the target from there, and the Newcastle midfielder makes it 5 with a cooly-taken side foot strike into the bottom corner of the net!

75: France supporters are absolutely going wild, their team are 5-0 up and look like they are hungry for more. What a goal-fest!

78: "Ole" time for France, passing the ball around nicely across the ground and not giving Switzerland an inch of space. The French are enjoying themselves, meanwhile their opponents just look disheartened.

80: It would be nice if Switzerland could get a goal back, a free-kick from 35 yards out to be taken. 

81: GOAL! I said it! Switzerland pull one back with a low, long-range effort from Dzemali! 
His effort was low and powerful, beating the French defensive-wall which failed to jump, meaning there was a lack of time for Lloris to react quickly enough as he scrambled to his post but was not fast enough. 5-1.

82: Sloppy defensive-wall from France, they've taken their foot off the gas and it's surely only a consolation for the Swiss. 

85: 5 minutes plus stoppages to play; France are set to top the group after this result.

86: GOAL! 5-2! Another consolation goal, this time from Bundesliga young star Granit Xhaka! A well-worked piece of play by the Swiss, who pass their way around the pitch before a lofted through ball by Inler is clinically finished by the young midfielder.

88: Yellow card for former Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who will miss the final group stage match against Ecuador after a late tackle on Dzemaili. Not needed there.

90: The fourth official has signalled for 3 minutes of stoppage time; Switzerland have left it too late, but all credit for an improved second-half performance despite conceding two goals.

90+3: GOAL! Wonderful finish by Benzema, a low ball into the area from Sissoko is clinically finished by the Real Madrid striker - but the referee blows his whistle for full-time and the goal has been disallowed! A shame, a great finish.

Switzerland 2 France 5 - 

A rampant display by Les Bleus, who have impressed again and go top of Group E after a great performance. Unlucky not to score again at the end, Benzema will feel slightly disappointed about his strike not being allowed.

Comfortable and confident: France were impressive again, scoring 5 past Switzerland tonight!

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