Karim Benzema has built a reputation for being one of the most technically adept forwards in modern football over the years, and he only enhanced it with a brilliantly taken goal last night.
When France met Switzerland in their 2020 European Championship Round of 16 encounter on Monday, it was Switzerland who took the shock lead in the first half – but Benzema resumed normal proceedings with a legendary backheel control and a composed finish to equalize.
It was moments after Hugo Lloris had just denied Ricardo Rodriguez from the spot to make it 2-0 for the Swiss, and the relieved world champions looked to find a way through.
Their search was successful when Antoine Griezmann found Kylian Mbappe right outside the penalty area, and Mbappe had the chance to play either Griezmann or Benzema in on goal.
Mbappe chose to play it to the latter but the PSG superstar’s through ball was a feeble one that lacked the ideal weight.
As a result, the ball fell behind Benzema who had made a run in between the Swiss central defenders. Just when it seemed like it was another French opportunity wasted, Benzema came up with a brilliant piece of control to manoeuvre the ball with a backheel touch – the Real Madrid man somehow brought the ball in front of him and capped the move off with a composed finish past Yan Sommer.
France were back on level terms, and Benzema added another soon to make it 2-1.
The pair of goals brought Benzema’s EURO 2020 goalscoring tally to four, but even though Paul Pogba added a third goal for France – late goals from Haris Seferovic and Mario Gavranovic tied the match at 3-3 in normal time.
Extra time could not separate the two teams, and penalties were needed to decide the winner – and Mbappe’s miss from the spot meant that the world champions were going home early.
Despite France’s run ending prematurely, the returning Benzema had a distinctive tournament scoring four times – the best of which was the aforementioned strike.