Continued from page 1

___

BENZEMA’S BEST

After months of frustration, where he could hardly score a goal and lost his confidence, Karim Benzema is peaking just in time for the World Cup.

The 26-year-old Benzema has been in scintillating form for Real Madrid recently, with 11 goals in his past 13 games while setting up numerous goals for his teammates.

But things looked very bleak for Benzema six months ago when he went 15 games without an international goal and lost his starting place to Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud.

Dropped to the bench, Benzema finally found the net in a friendly against Australia, and got another one as a substitute against Finland. Restored to the starting lineup, he then scored a crucial goal in the World Cup playoff win against Ukraine as France won 3-0 to overcome a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.

With Giroud’s form dipping for Arsenal, Benzema once again looks favored to lead the attack.

___

SNEIJDER CONUNDRUM

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal wants to see playmaker Wesley Sneijder in another position from where he currently is playing for Turkish side Galatasaray.

Even though the 29-year-old Sneijder has scored eight goals in 17 league games playing out wide for the Turkish side, Van Gaal feels he’s better suited to a more central role.

“Not on the left in midfield, because he will never play there for us,” Van Gaal said. “Sneijder is a footballer who, like (Rafael) van der Vaart, (Arjen) Robben and (Robin) van Persie can bring something extra. As long as he is fit and in form.”

Van der Vaart, who was called up over the weekend, has now been dropped again due to illness. Ajax attacking midfielder Siem de Jong has replaced him.

___

RAMPANT ROBBEN

Story Continues →