Sport Other Sports French fans given a reason to believe

French fans given a reason to believe

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France has put the other World Cup contenders on notice, delivering a 5-2 thrashing of Switzerland to all but lock up qualification for the round of 16.

The game was over at half-time with the French leading 3-0, and Didier Deschamps’s side became the second – after the Netherlands – to score five goals in a single match at the finals.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with a header after 17 minutes, and 66 seconds later the French doubled their lead, with a strong finish from Blaise Matuidi.

It could have been 3-0 just after the half-hour mark, when Johan Djourou brought down striker Karim Benzema in the area.

But Benzema became the first player to miss a spot-kick in Brazil when his shot was parried by Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio and Yohan Cabaye put the rebound off the bar.

Mathieu Valbuena made amends in the 40th minute to make it 3-0.

The second half was more of the same, as the demoralised Swiss found it impossible to stop the French attack.

Benzema bagged the fourth in the 67th minute, and six minutes later Moussa Sissoko made it five finishing off another great move.

Blerim Dzemaili struck the first free kick goal of the tournament from 30 yards to make it 5-1, and Granit Zhaka volleyed home another in the 87th minute, but there was only one winner.

In an astonishing finish, Benzema put the ball in the back of the net right at the end, but it did not count because referee Bjorn Kuipers had already blown the whistle.

France has scored eight goals with two conceded at the World Cup and leads Group E on six points, with Switzerland on three. Honduras and Ecuador play later in Curitiba.

More to follow.