- Benzema and Matuidi fire France past Holland09:58 | 06/03/2014
Karim Benzema and Blaise Matuidi were on target as France claimed a 2-0 friendly victory over Holland at the Stade de France in Paris.
Real Madrid striker Benzema put the home side ahead just after the half-hour mark with Matuidi adding a second less than 10 minutes later as players from both teams had a last chance to impress their respective managers ahead of this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
Both nations looked strong in the first half, but as the match wore on and substitutions were a plenty, things got a lot slower in the latter part of the match.
And there was some bad news for Holland as they lost 30-year-old midfielder Stijn Schaars to injury five minutes before the break.
The home side started well and Patrice Evra came close to opening the scoring after just three minutes but his effort from the left of the penalty box was comfortably caught by Holland goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
Antoine Griezmann was the next France player to have a go and almost put his side ahead before his header from 12 yards out sailed over the crossbar.
The visitors had a chance of their own minutes later but France captain Hugo Lloris kept out Wesley Sneijder’s outswinging corner in what was their first real effort on target.
Les Bleus were beginning to dominate now and could have take the lead midway through the first half but Bruno Martins Indi was quick to block Benzema’s close-range header.
And the Real Madrid striker had another chance with a free-kick minutes later, but only managed to hit the Holland wall as France pushed to break the deadlock.
Sneijder made the home side work hard to keep out three successive corners after 28 minutes, the third finding captain Robin van Persie on the edge of the 18-yard box and the Oranje could have taken the lead, but his volley was punched clear by Lloris.
Just after the half-hour mark Benzema put France ahead as he collected Paul Pogba’s cross from the left and made no mistake as he fired the ball into the back of the net from the right of the penalty area to make it 1-0.
Moments later Sneijder set up Ron Vlaar with a great chance to equalise but his header went over the bar before the visitors lost PSV Eindhoven midfielder Schaars to injury. He was replaced by Kevin Strootman.
France doubled their lead five minutes before the break as Mathieu Valbuena found Matuidi in the penalty box and the Paris St Germain midfielder made his opportunity count as he volleyed the ball home into the top left corner.
Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps brought on Lucas Digne for Evra in a tactical move at half-time.
While, five minutes later, his Dutch counterpart Louis van Gaal substituted Daley Blind as 19-year-old defender Karim Rekik took to the pitch for his senior debut.
Both sides took a while to get going in the second half with Raphael Varane denied the chance to make it three for France as his header dipped over the bar.
Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery was handed his 81st cap – replacing Valbuena – as Deschamps continued to make changes to his team with half an hour to go and the 30-year-old could have got on the scoresheet deep into the half but his long-range effort was safe in the hands of Cillessen.
With 10 minutes to go, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud came on to make a late impression for France as both coaches took the chance to watch as many of their players in action as possible before naming their 23-man World Cup squad in May.
PSG midfield man Yohan Cabaye had the last half-chance of the match but his free-kick from just outside the box late on floated past the post as the match finished 2-0 to France.
According to Foxsports
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