Soccer News Sat, 21 Jun 2014
Karim Benzema says France aim to produce another five-star display against Ecuador in their final FIFA World Cup™ group match following their 5-2 romp over Switzerland.The 26-year-old Real Madrid forward made up for failing to convert a first-half penalty in Salvador by claiming France's fourth goal in a superb individual display. The victory left France on the verge of the last 16, but the Group E leaders are eager for another impressive display in their final group match in Rio de Janeiro next Wednesday.
"We're very pleased with the performance and we'll try to repeat it against Ecuador," said Benzema in collecting his man-of-the-match trophy. "I enjoyed the match, but when we get awards such as this one, it's down to the efforts of the team."
Benzema was only denied a late second goal by the referee's final whistle, which came just two seconds before he beat Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio for a second time. "No, I didn't hear the whistle, so I shot and scored the goal, but the most important thing is the victory and how we obtained it," he added.
France coach Didier Deschamps said Les Bleus need Benzema at his world-class best as they bid to win a second FIFA World Cup after their 1998 triumph. "Karim confirmed that he is in great shape and in a good place," said Deschamps, who captained France to their 1998 win and UEFA Euro 2000 victory.
"He's a top-notch player and he just continues doing what he has been doing for us since he first came into the squad. He's very effective and it's very important to have someone like him around."