cope with the ferocious pace of France’s breaks from midfield and the slick movement of its interchanging forward line.
“France has excellent individual players and they can go very far in this tournament. When the opponent has such strong individual players, they can move quickly to counterattack,” Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said through a translator. “We have seen France’s potential. They had an explosion of power and this shows the class of this team.”
Deschamps had dropped midfielder 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 temper better.
After coming on as a substitute, 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.
The Swiss conceded too easily throughout the game.
Giroud jumped above Behrami from near the back of the penalty 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 just wide.
That close miss went unpunished 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 post.
“Olivier played very well, like all the players did,” Benzema said. “He holds the ball up well back to goal, creates space and helps others to score.”