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Benzema, Ribery shine as France outclasses Estonia
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 06 - 2012

Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery were a class apart as France put the finishing touches on its Euro 2012 preparations with a 4-0 home win against Estonia in Le Mans Tuesday.
Benzema netted either side of halftime after Ribery had opened the scoring following a fine one-two with the striker as Les Bleus stretched their unbeaten run to 21 matches.
Winger Jeremy Menez completed the rout in stoppage time.
With Samir Nasri and Ribery on the flanks and Benzema up front, France played some nice one-touch football although it sometimes looked shaky at the back.
After fullback Patrice Evra produced a miserable performance in a 3-2 win against Iceland in their first of three Euro warm-up games, it was Philippe Mexes's turn to raise concerns.
Estonia almost caught France cold twice in the opening 15 minutes, with a poor first touch from Mexes allowing midfielder Henrik Ojamaa to shoot narrowly wide across goal.
Ojamaa then got ahead of Mexes to meet a left wing cross but, off balance, could only volley wide.
Sweden beats Serbia
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a second-half penalty to give Sweden a 2-1 win over Serbia also Tuesday in the host's final tuneup for the European Championship.
Ibrahimovic calmly slotted the ball into the left side of the net in the 52nd minute of a game that Sweden largely controlled but failed to dominate.
Ola Toivonen gave Sweden the lead in the 23rd minute after a blunder by goalkeeper Branimir Aleksic, but Neven Subotic equalized just four minutes later with a header from a corner.
Toivonen was then brought down by Aleksic in the area for the penalty, as Sweden made sure it enters Euro 2012 following two victories in warm-up friendlies. Sweden beat Iceland 3-2 last week, with Ibrahimovic and Toivonen both scoring.
NZ, Solomons draw
Benjamin Totori scored a 57th minute equalizer for the Solomon Islands in a 1-1 draw with New Zealand Wednesday as both teams clinched places in the semifinals of the Oceania Nations Cup, the second round of regional qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
New Zealand, which represented Oceania at the 2010 World Cup, entered its last Group B match unbeaten and with its semifinals place already secured.
The Solomon Islands faced uncertainty at the start of the final day of pool play but was able to relax when Fiji was held to a 1-1 draw by Papua New Guinea. Fiji needed to win to have any chance of displacing the host nation in the final four.
The top four teams progressed to the third round of World Cup qualifying.


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