After going two games without a goal at Euro 2020, the Real Madrid striker confessed that he felt the pressure to score before breaking the deadlock with a double against Portugal.
Karim Benzema has admitted that he felt the pressure to score at Euro 2020 before their final Group F match. The French striker, who was yet to score or assist since his return to the national team in the opening two group matches, broke the deadlock in style with a well-taken double against Portugal on Wednesday. Thanks to Benzema’s double, France secured a point with a 2-2 draw against the defending champions which was enough to send them through to the next round as group leaders. Next up is a match against Switzerland in the last 16.
The Real Madrid striker ended his goal drought by converting a spot-kick just before half-time before coming up with a neat finish in the second half to grab his second of the night. “[I felt] much joy and pride after scoring,” Benzema said on beIN Sports. “Everyone was waiting for it. There was that pressure on me, but I’m a football player, a professional and I feed off of that. It’s nice to score, and in addition we are qualified. I wanted to score in this team because I know that goals are very important in this competition.”
In between two Cristiano Ronaldo goals, Benzema scored his double to help France earn a vital point on the night, which helped them top the group. He added to TF1, “I never doubted myself, but I knew there were expectations of me from the country. I managed to score and I’m going to savour it with everybody.”
France coach Didier Deschamps was pleased to see his side secure a valuable point against Portugal in their final group match to seal the top spot. Les Bleus topped the Group F after beating Germany 1-0 in their first match before securing two draws against Hungary and Portugal. They next play Switzerland in their last 16 clash.
France had already booked a knockout place and Wednesday’s match was all about securing the top spot. They also had to keep a constant eye on the clash between Hungary and Germany in the other group which was happening simultaneously. With the scoreline constantly changing in both the matches, all four teams had a chance of securing a knockout berth right till the end. At last, both matches ended 2-2.
“We were seeing the scoreline in the night’s other match as Hungary were beating Germany, and it was making things very complicated,” Deschamps told a news conference. “It was an insane match that went in all directions. I am really satisfied.
“Football is pure magic, from one situation to another the emotions can change so quickly. The morale of the team can change too. Tonight was pleasing even though not everything was perfect. It was a match on the top level.”
On Wednesday night, Ronaldo opened the scoring with a penalty and right before half-time, Benzema levelled for the Euro 2016 runners-up. It ended his goal drought for the national team. At the beginning of the second half, he beat the offside trap cleverly with a well-timed run to grab his second of the night before Ronaldo scored once again from the penalty spot to level the scoreline.