After struggling in his first two Euro 2020 outings and facing calls to be dropped, France’s Karim Benzema repaid coach Didier Deschamps’ faith with two goals to help the world champion qualify top of Group F on Wednesday.
Les Bleus’ 2-2 draw against defending champion Portugal gave it five points and a last-16 meeting with Switzerland on Monday. Benzema, back in the squad after a nearly six-year absence including a row with Deschamps, looked out of sorts in the first two matches against Germany and Hungary.
Before the tournament, in a warm-up game, the Real Madrid forward had missed a third consecutive penalty for France. Yet it was Benzema who stepped up for the penalty on the stroke of halftime – rather than fellow strikers Kylian Mbappe or Antoine Griezmann – to wrongfoot Rui Patricio and make it 1-1 after Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener also with a spot-kick.
“It’s nice to see. He was…