France thrashed Switzerland 5-2 to surge closer to the World Cup last 16 as Costa Rica booked their place in the knockout rounds with a 1-0 upset of Italy, which confirmed England's exit.
|Costa Rica's head coach Jorge Luis Pinto, left, celebrates after winning 1-0 against Italy in the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Costa Rica at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP-Yonhap)|
Goals from Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi, Mathieu Valbuena, Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko gave rampant France a thumping victory as the 1998 champions ran riot in Salvador.
Switzerland scored consolation goals through Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka but Les Bleus now look all but certain to win Group E.
"I think everyone could see we're going through an exceptional adventure," said goalscorer Giroud.
"I think people can see that on the pitch we're getting a lot of pleasure.
"We're pleased even though we conceded those two goals at the end which put a bit of a dampener on things. It was still a beautiful victory."
France will have to wait until next week's final round of games to formally seal their second round berth after Ecuador came from behind to beat Honduras 2-1. Carlo Costly put Honduras 1-0 ahead before Ecuador fought back with two goals from Enner Valencia.
France's earlier victory came four years to the day after the anniversary of the French squad's infamous strike at the South Africa World Cup.
But the acrimony and discord of 2010 was a long distant memory as France tore Switzerland to shreds with an exhibition of attacking teamwork.
Dejected Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld believes France are rapidly emerging as contenders for the title.
"We were aware that we needed to take the game to them, but if you are chasing things, France have excellent individual players.
"They are one of the teams who can go very far in this tournament, they are superior to the likes of England or Italy."
France are one of the few European teams to have shone so far in Brazil and there was more woe for the continent's contingent on Friday as Italy slumped to defeat against Costa Rica in Group D.
Bryan Ruiz's 44th-minute header clinched a deserved victory which sent Costa Rica into the second round for th first time since the 1990 finals in Italy. (AFP)