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Neil Humphreys
Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

Sports

World Cup: Forget Ribery, here's the French calvary

The New Paper | Neil Humphreys | Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

France's forward Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring a goal during the friendly football match between France and Jamaica at the Pierre Mauroy stadium, on June 08, 2014, ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup football tournament.

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY

FRANCE 8

(Yohan Cabaye 17, Blaise Matuidi 20, 66, Karim Benzema 38, 63, Olivier Giroud 53, Antoine Griezmann 77, 89)

JAMAICA 0

Memories are ruthlessly short. Franck Ribery is in danger of being forgotten already.

The winger said his injury felt like a death in his soul. But there is life in his national side. Ribery's dramatic demise could accidentally trigger a French resurrection.

He often played like a one-man band. Like Thierry Henry before him, blue blood flowed through Ribery. He was the go-to man and the obvious get-out for teammates.

But the solo act is gone. France now march to La Marseillaise in step and in unison. Didier Deschamps has instilled a collective work ethic and a creative consensus.

Where there was discord just two days ago, there is now harmony. France were lost out wide without Ribery. Now they've found Karim Benzema.

The Real Madrid striker was a revelation on the left side of a front three yesterday morning (Singapore time), terrorising the hapless Jamaicans who displayed all the movement of a bobsleigh team. Benzema did the cool running.

France have a patchy history of petulance, with superstars showing off their bottom lip rather than their ball skills when formations or positional changes were not to their liking.

But Benzama revelled in his new responsibilities.

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