Karim Benzema was in
inspired form as France
opened their World Cup
campaign with a convincing
3-0 win over Honduras .
Luis Suarez’s Central
Americans were not afraid to put in several robust
challenges – an approach that resulted in Wilson
Palacios’ dismissal shortly before the break.
There was also a first moment of doubt in relation to
goal-line technology at the World Cup, with initial
confusion over the verdict for France’s second goal.
However, Didier Deschamps’ men were rightful
victors as they moved top of Group E despite having
struggled to break down Honduras’ backline for the
majority of the opening 45 minutes.
Benzema gave France the lead from the penalty spot
just prior to the break, with Palacios shown a second
yellow card after barging into Paul Pogba, and the 10
men of Honduras fell further behind early in the
After a short delay, goal-line technology confirmed
goalkeeper Noel Valladares had fumbled Benzema’s
effort over the line, and the Real Madrid man added a
third 18 minutes from time as the French got their
first points on the board in Brazil.
Both sides struggled to build momentum early on,
although Mathieu Valbuena and Antoine Griezmann
were among the livelier French players in the
opening 10 minutes.
Valbuena in particular was a danger and his delivery
led to France’s first chance 14 minutes in – Blaise
Matuidi seeing his effort from inside the area tipped
onto and over the crossbar by Valladares.
From there, France dominated play and Griezmann
was next to go close with a header that hit the
Tempers flared shortly before the half-hour mark
when Pogba and Palacios were involved in a heated
exchange after some tenacious tackling from the
Stoke City man.
Pogba kicked out at the Honduran from on the
ground and was perhaps lucky to escape with only a
yellow card, while Palacios was also booked for the
initial challenge.For Honduras, that break in play
provided welcome respite from constant French
pressure and the incident seemed to slow the
Europeans’ momentum somewhat.
Indeed, they needed a penalty to give them a lead at
the break – Benzema tucking the spot-kick away after
Palacios had mindlessly bundled over Pogba in the
The midfielder’s subsequent dismissal gave the
Central Americans a mountain to climb in the second
half, with things getting worse for Honduras two
minutes after the restart with the arrival of France’s
Benzema’s initial effort struck the far post and, with
the assistance of goal-line technology and some
poor handling from Valladares, it found its way over
While there was a delay on the confirmation of the
goal and subsequent disagreements between France
coach Deschamps and his counterpart Suarez on the
touchline, the ball was – eventually – clearly
adjudged to be over the line.
There was no doubt whatsoever as to Benzema ‘s
second of the game, though – the impressive striker
crashing an effort into the roof of the net from a tight
angle with 18 minutes left.
That put further daylight between the two sides,
although more robust tackling from Honduras late on
meant that Deschamps will likely have been satisfied
to simply come through a physical encounter
unscathed and seemingly without injury.
Karim Benzema was in