Karim Benzema was in a class of his own in an unusual role on the left as France geared up for the World Cup with an 8-0 win over Jamaica on Sunday despite the absence of Franck Ribery.
Ribery was ruled out of the finals with a back injury but Les Bleus were eager to move on with Benzema netting twice and setting up three more goals while Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi (2), Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann (2) also scored.
“Nice atmosphere, it’s good for the confidence but it does not give us any guarantee for the first game against Honduras,” coach Didier Deschamps told TV channel TF1
“It’s going to be another game next Sunday,” he added ahead of their Group E opener in Porto Alegre.
There was also a concern over fullback Mathieu Debuchy, who was replaced at halftime by Bacary Sagna after picking up what appeared to be a leg injury.
Deschamps stuck to his 4-3-3 system at Lille’s Grand Stade, with Giroud at centre forward and Benzema filling the left flank position usually occupied by Ribery, while Mathieu Valbuena kept his place on the right.
Giroud played his role to perfection when he headed Valbuena’s cross into the path of Cabaye who chested the ball down and tucked it past Jacomeno Barrett.
Matuidi made it 2-0 with a low shot from just outside the box after collecting Benzema’s pass after 20 minutes.
The Real Madrid striker then curled a superb shot into the far corner of the goal in the 38th and broke down the left to deliver a perfect pass to Giroud who tapped home the fourth after the break.
Benzema curled another fine strike into the net at the near post to make it 5-0 just past the hour before Matuidi got his double when he volleyed home Patrice Evra’s cross from the left.
Second-half substitute Antoine Griezmann rubbed salt in Jamaica’s wounds by firing past Jacomeno from Benzema’s pass and added the eighth with a clever backheel from point-blank range.
After playing Honduras, France meet Switzerland and Ecuador.