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France's Benzema must finally shine on big stage

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 27, 2014 at 2:32 am •  Published: May 27, 2014
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France needs him to score more regularly because Ribery is a winger and Giroud is not a great finisher.

Benzema scored 14 goals in 17 games during his best club spell this season, between January and March, even outshining Cristiano Ronaldo with two goals in the 4-3 defeat to bitter rival Barcelona. However, those were his last league goals for the club and he has managed to score only one since — the winner in the first-leg victory against Bayern Munich in their Champions League semifinal.

However, he played a crucial part in the 4-0 second-leg win with his outstanding passing, and his ability to drop deep and release teammates with pinpoint passes helps Madrid's laser-fast counterattacks.

This was evident when he set up Angel Di Maria for the opening goal in the 2-1 Copa Del Rey final win against Barcelona.

The problem for France is that if Benzema turns provider, who then will score given that France plays with only one center forward? He wants to be constantly involved in play and sometimes drifts about. At Euro 2012, that unbalanced the team, leaving it with no focal point in attack.

However, the defenses he faced at Euro 2012 — England, Ukraine, Sweden and Spain — were tighter than the ones he'll encounter next month.

The Swiss are usually tough to break down, but Benzema must plunder goals against Honduras and Ecuador.