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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Mar 6, 2014

Benzema full of confidence for France

FC's Craig Burley and Steve Nicol are impressed by France's showing against the Netherlands.

France striker Karim Benzema told Eurosport he would not have even found the target a few months ago with the shot that brought him the opening goal in Wednesday's 2-0 friendly win over the Netherlands.

Benzema scored his 19th international goal.
Karim Benzema netted his 19th goal for France in the 2-0 win over the Netherlands.

• Rodden: A misleading win
International wrap

The Real Madrid player, 26, infamously went 1,022 minutes without scoring for Les Bleus last year.

But ever since snapping that run in a 6-0 win over Australia last October, Benzema has been in sensational form for club and country, and continued his scoring streak on Wednesday night.

The Blancos forward latched on to Blaise Matuidi's ball over the top and smashed home a volley from just inside the box to mark his 12th goal in 14 matches in 2014, and his 19th goal for France.

"A few months ago it maybe would have gone over the bar," he joked.
"Blaise put the ball in front of me. I knew more or less where the goal was, I had a shot and I got some success.

"At the moment I'm feeling good and that's showing on the pitch."

Benzema revealed that France were keen to continue where they left off against Ukraine, and that that the dramatic World Cup playoff  win in November had liberated the team.

"A lot of players are relaxing more and more," he continued.

"It's nice for everyone. Of course we're enjoying our football as a result. We all played at a very high level this Wednesday."

France coach Didier Deschamps hailed Benzema’s performance during in the victory in Paris, and says that while his side are not favourites in Brazil this summer, their confidence is back.

"[Benzema] has a big smile on his face," RMC reports him as telling a post-match news conference.

"Clearly when he's at that level it's very interesting for us.

"The result, the manner and the general attitude [pleased me most]. You know what happened on Nov. 19 (when France beat Ukraine 3-0).

"It wasn't the same context [tonight] but there was the same collective desire to do things well together against a quality team.

"This match is not going to see us go from outsiders to favourites for the World Cup -- but to have maintained our dynamic is important."

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