Soccer / Sports

France overpowers Switzerland, 5-2

Of the World Cup teams that might need a mercy rule, such as a shortened match, to end their misery in a one-sided game, Switzerland seemingly is not one of them. A No. 6 FIFA ranking, earned with a defense that gave up only six goals in qualifying, figured to make the Swiss immune to a blowout loss.

But France bolted to a five-goal lead and coasted to a 5-2 victory Friday over the Swiss, who salvaged a thimble of respect with a pair of scores in the closing 10 minutes.

France, which also won its opener by three goals, seized control of Group E and is a certain participant in the round of 16. Switzerland (1-0-1) could tag along, too.

France pulled off the improbable feat of cramming three goals into the first half while flubbing a penalty kick.

Karim Benzema was in no-man's land, heading clumsily with the ball toward the end line, when defender Johan Djourou bailed him out with a trip that gave France the penalty kick. Benzema's so-so try was saved by keeper Diego Benaglio, who lay helplessly as Yohan Cabaye's rebound attempt glanced off the post and away.

Otherwise, Benaglio had little success against the French barrage. He got his palm print on a header by Olivier Giroud off Mathieu Valbuena's corner kick but could not alter the ball's course on the initial goal.

A minute later, an interception of a lazy back pass led to Blaise Matuidi's barely contested goal, assisted by Benzema.

Down, 2-0, the Swiss brought their rear guard forward on a corner kick, leaving them exposed to a breakaway. France was downfield in a jiffy, and Giroud's cross to Valbuena for the gimme goal made it a fait accompli by halftime.

In World Cup annals, one only team has dug out of a three-goal deficit (and that was for a tie). France resisted the temptation to downshift and maintained its frenzied pace, which paid off with goals by Benzema, via a stellar feed from Paul Pogba, and by Moussa Sissoko, set up with the omnipresent Benzema's serve.

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