France one of the favourites now, says Hitzfeld

Brasilia: Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld says France deserve to be one of the World Cup favourites after the Swiss were left to rue a "bleak day" in their 5-2 drubbing.

The Swiss were floored by two goals within 66 seconds of each other as a Blaise Matuidi strike followed an Olivier Giroud header to make it 2-0 to France with 20 minutes gone in Salvador.

Real Madrid`s Karim Benzema made up for missing a first-half penalty by netting their fourth after right-winger Mathieu Valbuena had put France 3-0 up at the break.

Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko`s strike left the French 5-0 up after 75 minutes before two late Swiss goals from Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka.

Only the heroics of Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio prevented more damage in the key Group E clash.

"I`m very disappointed by our defeat, it was a very bleak day for us," rued Hitzfeld after losing centre-back Steve von Bergen early on to a cut on his face.

"The French were ice cold in taking their chances."

Hitzfeld says the French must be considered one of the favourites for the title.

"We already knew how strong France are and when mistakes are made it`s hard to come back against them," said the ex-Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund boss.

"We saw France`s potential in the Honduras match and after beating the Ukraine 3-0 in the play-off, they had an explosion of form and belief.

"We were aware that we needed to take the game to them, but if you are chasing things, France have excellent individual players.

"They are one of the teams who can go very far in this tournament, they are superior to the likes of England or Italy."

Despite the defensive debacle, Switzerland can still qualify for the last 16 with a win over Honduras in Manaus next Wednesday.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by clicking this link