SALVADOR, Brazil -- France is striking at the World Cup again, this time in a way the fans back home will approve of. Tony La Russa . Four years ago to the day, Frances players shamed the nation by going on strike at the last World Cup. On Friday, the team put on a striking attacking display, blowing Switzerland away with a 5-2 win on Friday to take total control of Group E and put themselves in position to avoid a showdown with Lionel Messis Argentina in the next round. "We were all magnificent tonight," said goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, one of only four holdovers from the shambles of Frances last World Cup. "We cant let ourselves get flooded by emotion and must stay calm. But were going to savour this." Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud and winger Mathieu Valbuena alls scored one goal and created another to underline both the newfound team spirit in this team and the lethal versatility in attack. "When you score five goals, its ecstasy," Valbuena said. "It was a great night for us. We hurt them with our quick attacks and with the variety of our play," France coach Didier Deschamps said. Giroud and Blasie Matuidi scored a minute apart and Valbuena added another before halftime. Benzema made up for a first-half penalty miss with a poachers finish in the 67th, and then turned provider for Moussa Sissoko, who made it 5-0 in the 73rd. "Karim is confirming that hes in very, very good form," Deschamps said." Hes in great shape athletically." Switzerland pulled two consolation goals back as Blerim Dzemaili scored with a free kick in the 81st and Granit Xhaka slotted in the second in the 87th. Benzema thought he had scored his second -- and the goal of the night -- but his curling, first-time strike was ruled out because Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers blew his whistle for full time just seconds before the shot. "I didnt hear the whistle," he said. Friday marked the fourth anniversary of Frances infamous World Cup training ground strike four years ago in South Africa, when the players shamed a nation back home. How different things look from 2010. "We have to carry on this way and to keep this strength, this irreproachable team spirit we have," Valbuena said. France has scored eight goals in two games in the tournament and Benzema could even afford to miss a penalty. "Its a huge satisfaction within the team but were not going to get carried away," Deschamps said. "We shouldnt think were prettier than we are." Switzerlands demise came rapidly, after centre half Steve Von Bergen came off with blood pouring down from under his left eye after Giroud kicked him in the face in the sixth minute. He was replaced by Philippe Senderos and things went from bad to awful from then on for a makeshift defence against the ferocious pace of Frances breaks from midfield and the slick movement of its interchanging forwards. "They can go very far in this tournament," Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said through a translator. "We have seen Frances potential. They had an explosion of power." Deschamps had dropped midfielder Paul Pogba, who was lucky not to be sent off against Honduras for aiming a wild kick at Wilson Palacios, warning him that he needs to control his temper better. After coming on as a substitute, Pogba sent an exquisite pass with the outside of his right boot that had Senderos kicking at air, and Benzema finished confidently for his third goal of the tournament. The Real Madrid forward then instigated a move and waited for Sissoko to break down the right, serving him with an inch-perfect pass. The Swiss conceded far too easily. Giroud jumped above Behrami from near the back of the penalty area to head powerfully under the crossbar in the 17th minute. Then, Valon Behrami gave the ball away to Benzema, who fed Matuidi sprinting down the left, and the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder slotted neatly inside the near post. The Swiss had only one shot on target in the first half, with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris diving low to keep out Mehmedis drive. Shaqiri picked up the rebound and scuffed a low shot that rolled just wide. That close miss went unpunished by Benzema, who missed from the spot after being tripped by Johan Djourou in the 32nd. Yohan Cabaye hit the crossbar from the rebound. It mattered little as Giroud galloped into space down the left and picked out Valbuena at the back post in the 40th with a classic counterattacking goal. Paul DeJong . - Hitting was supposed to be the Pittsburgh Pirates weakness coming into the season yet they lead the major leagues in home runs through the first 16 games of the season. Tyler ONeill . -- Blake Griffin scored 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds, DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 22 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Golden State Warriors 98-96 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Speed skating has belonged to the Netherlands at the Sochi Olympics and that did not change on Tuesday. The Dutch swept another event, grabbing three more medals in the mens 10,000 meters at Adler Arena. Jorrit Bergsma was the top finisher in Tuesdays event, setting an Olympic record with a time of 12 minutes, 44.45 seconds in the grueling race. Sven Kramer was 4.57 seconds off Bergsmas time, while Bob de Jong finished at a distant 13:07.19 seconds, 22.74 ticks off Bergsmas incredible time. Still, de Jong earned bronze and gave the Netherlands a total of 19 medals in speed skating during these Olympics. Twelve of those medals have been won by the men. It marked the fourth event in Sochi that the Dutch have swept. The women won all three medals in the 1,500 meters, while the men also filled the podium in the 500 and 5,000 meters. Bergsma cllaimed a bronze in the mens 5,000 back on Feb. Rangel Ravelo. 8, with Kramer taking gold. However, it was the 28-year-old Bergsma coming out on top Tuesday in a repeat of his first-place finish at the 2013 World Single Distances Championships, also held in Sochi. For Kramer, he may view his silver as a disappointment. The 27-year-old, who picked up his sixth Olympic medal with his second of Sochi, was in line to win this event four years ago in Vancouver, but was disqualified for an illegal lane change. It also was the fourth Olympic medal of de Jongs career and each has come in this event. That includes a gold in 2006 and a bronze four years ago. South Koreas Lee Seung-Hoon, who took gold in Vancouver after Kramers DQ, finished fourth on Tuesday with a time of 13:11.68. American Emery Lehman, 17, finished 10th, one spot ahead of fellow U.S. skater Patrick Meek. ' ' '
Four years ago to the day,
Four years ago to the day,