The striker admits he was thrilled with his all-round display in France’s win over Honduras, while Mathieu Valbuena thanked coach Didier Deschamps for his trust
Karim Benzema says he is proud of his display in France’s 3-0 win over Honduras on Sunday, but insists he should not be judged on his goalscoring record alone.
The Real Madrid striker opened the scoring from the penalty spot before forcing an own goal from goalkeeper Noel Valladares, which saw goal-line technology brought into play for the first time during the World Cup.
Benzema then completed the comfortable win with a rifled finish later in the second half to justify his selection ahead of Olivier Giroud in Didier Deschamps’ starting XI.
The 26-year-old went more than 1,200 minutes without scoring for France before netting against Australia last October, yet despite having now scored eight times in seven appearances for Les Bleus, he maintains there is far more to his game than finding the net.
“Personally, my objectives have been met. I had it in my head to have a good game, to win, and to play my football without any pressure, which I did,” he is quoted as saying by L’Equipe.
“With the second goal, the ball hit the post and the keeper, and I saw straight away that the ball went in.
“I’m very happy and very proud. But the victory is the most important [thing]. Some judge me on the number of goals I score but, for me, the way I play counts for more.”
Mathieu Valbuena put in a superb performance in attack for France and the Olympique de Marseille star was quick to praise his coach for his trust.
“It went very well,” Valbuena told FIFA.com afterwards.
“You get days like that, when you realise that everything’s going to go your way, that every pass could lead to an opportunity.
“But it was the team performance that made me feel at ease.
“We’ve continued the good run we’ve been on over the past few months, and there’s a positive feeling running through the camp.
“That trust that he placed in me, that I managed to earn, shows me that when you do things well you get your just rewards.
“I know I’ve got important responsibilities within the team now, and that my team-mates trust me. That changes everything. Tough times are a part of life. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if everything had been easy.”