FRANCE MAY NOT have been mathematically guaranteed their spot in the round of 16 at this year’s World Cup but we’d have eaten our berets if they didn’t top the group. Ecuador just had to match or better Switzerland’s result to join them and we’d all the action from Group E.
22 mins: Honduras look a bit more threatening in the last few minutes without creating anything like a clear-cut opportunity.
25 mins: Almost forgot Benzema was playing for France. He’s been a shadow of the player he was in the opening two games so far. Ducked under a header just there but maybe the Real striker was put off by the flapping of Dominguez in the Ecuador goal.
27 mins: Lovely turn and run by Inler puts Switzerland in a good position but there’s no end product. He cut through the Honduras defence like the knife his county is named after there.*
GOAL! – Switzerland 2-0 Honduras (30′ Shaqiri): They’re not the sixth ranked team in the world for nothing as Shaqiri bags his second. It’s a much simpler finish than the first but just as important.
32 mins: While we were watching Switzerland’s second goal, this happened in the France game.
79 mins: Brilliant save by Benaglio from Bengston ensures he keeps his clean sheet.
81 mins: Lloris – captaining France this evening – with a fine save of his own in the other game to deny Ecuador a glimmer of hope.
83 mins: Benzema misses a great chance from France from 10-yards out. Really should have opened the scoring there.
88 mins: Reminder, Ecuador will need to score twice to have any chance of progression. On the evidence of the opening 87 minutes, I’m more likely to get a call up from Martin O’Neill.
90 + 1 mins: Switzerland will qualify despite shipping give goals to France in their second game. Their reward? A game with Argentina.
That could be a shoot-out – not the penalty kind – with Messi and Shaqiri in this form.
And that was a bit of a damp squib as far as Ecuador are concerned. One decent effort but never came close to scoring the goals they needed to get through. France, well they were workmanlike and will need to step up a gear to get by Nigeria in the round of 16.
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