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France and Benzema can deliver goals galore at World Cup

| 10.06.2014

As signals of intent go, France’s 8-0 win over Jamaica could not have been better timed for Les Bleus, a team that always appears to be teetering on the brink of disaster, and many of whom must have still be reeling from news of Franck Ribery’s withdrawal.

The loss of the Bayern Munich playmaker was a crushing one for the 25/1 World Cup outsiders, a team that had relied on the mercurial winger for goals and assists throughout qualifying.

A total of 10 goals and 10 assists in an injury hit season was nevertheless second only to the previous campaign, when a total of 14 assists and 10 goals came from Ribery as Bayern swept all before them.

How would the French cope without the man seen as their creative fulcrum, a pivotal star who had proven as essential as Zinedine Zidane to the French cause during their run to the final in 2006?

The answer was…quite well actually.

Because, while it would be foolish to be read too much into the win, France nevertheless displayed the kind of attacking gusto that had been missing from their previous Ribery-less outings.

They were helped by Didier Deschamps who chose an attacking line-up for the last of Les Bleus’ warm-up games and was duly rewarded with arguably their most free-flowing display yet.

With Olivier Giroud playing through the middle, the former Juventus coach opted to play Karim Benzema wide on the left, and Mathieu Valbuena on the right as part of an enticing attacking trident.

It delivered plenty of goals, with the Real Madrid forward bagging a brace, while his Arsenal counterpart also got on the scoresheet as France ran riot.

Benzema continued to impress even after Giroud’s withdrawal, as Real Sociedad prospect Antoine Griezmann came to the fore again, with a cameo that produced two goals and offered plenty of food for thought among punters.

Benzema may be an outside shot to claim the Golden Boot at the World Cup but with games against lowly Honduras and Ecuador to come, as well as old foes Switzerland, there is certainly value in the 33/1 being offered on him being top scorer come the conclusion of the group stage.

The Galacticos star is the current favourite to be France’s top scorer at the tournament at 13/8 but should Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fail to hit top form, as at previous World Cups, then the 10/1 on the Frenchman being the top scorer from La Liga looks good.

Meanwhile, those looking to cash in on Antoine Griezmann’s rich scoring form can get 7/1 on the Sociedad man getting the most goals for France, having claimed three in his last two appearances.

France certainly appear to be firing on all cylinders at just the right time and are available at 14/1 to be the top scoring team in the group stage, with Group E on at 8/1 to be the top scoring group.

It will only take one big win against the likes of Honduras before those odds tumble.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.