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This team showing grit of 1998, says Deschamps

Karim Benzema celebrates his goal, on Friday

Salvador: France coach Didier Deschamps reserved special praise for Karim Benzema on Friday after the striker was again at the heart of a fine attacking display in a 5-2 World Cup Group E mauling of Switzerland.

Benzema, who struck twice and came close to a hat-trick in France’s opening victory over Honduras, again caused havoc against the Swiss at Salvador’s Fonte Nova arena, scoring once and setting up another two.

“Benzema confirmed that he is in great shape, he is very well physically, he is a very joyful person and a top-notch player,” Deschamps said.

Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who called the crushing defeat a “bleak day” for his side, also paid tribute to Benzema’s performance.

“Benzema is top class, he makes the most of the gaps, he really fights for the team, he scores, he proves this in all of the games,” he said.

To add to Switzerland’s woes, defender Steve von Bergen will miss the rest of the World Cup after suffering an eye socket injury early in the France game.

Von Bergen was led off the field in the fifth minute after he was caught in the face by Olivier Giroud’s left foot, leaving him with blood streaming from the wound near his left eye.

Deschamps, meanwhile, said his side were showing the grit and determination he and his teammates had when they swept to World Cup victory in 1998.

“It is the same thing that we saw in 1998, while we cannot compare each changing room, I have a very focused group at present, they have a mindset that they want to maintain, even those who play less, there is a force that is rising,” Deschamps said.

TEAMS

France: Hugo Lloris; Mathieu Debuchy, Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho (Laurent Koscielny, 66), Patrice Evra; Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Valbuena (Antoine Griezmann, 82), Moussa Sissoko, Blaise Matuidi; Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud (Paul Pogba, 63).

Switzerland: Diego Benaglio; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Johan Djourou, Steve Von Bergen (Philippe Senderos, 9), Ricardo Rodriguez; Valon Behrami (Blerim Dzemaili, 46), Gokhan Inler, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka; Admir Mehmedi, Haris Seferovic (Josip Drmic, 69).

Man of the Match: Karim Benzema

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (The Netherlands)