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Benzema's brace sinks Honduras as France impress in their World Cup opener

Goal-line technology used for the first time in the tournament as Central Americans play majority of the game with ten men.

Image: Andrew Medichini/AP/Press Association Images

France 3-0 Honduras

THOUGH THERE MAY have been some debate early in the second half when Didier Deschamps’ side went two-nil up, the result was never in doubt as France bossed proceedings and eased to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Honduras in their Group E opening game.

Karim Benzema scored twice and would’ve had a hat-trick were it not for an own-goal by Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares after 48 minutes. It proved a controversial moment. Benzema saw his left-footed strike hit the inside of the far post and it trickled across the line before deflecting off Valladares and rolling just behind the line. As the striker ran to celebrate, referee Sandro Meira Ricci confirmed the awarding of the goal but that’s when the confusion started.

On the big-screen, the goal-line technology signalled ‘No goal’ as the ball hit the post. Cue the howls of disapproval from the Honduran fans. But, as the replay continued, it showed the ball bouncing off Valladares and barely crossing the line. As ‘Goal’ popped up on the screens, there were more shrieks of disapproval but France certainly didn’t care and were good value for the two-goal lead.

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In truth, Honduras didn’t deserve much luck from this. They imposed themselves and perhaps felt hard done when Paul Pogba flicked out at Wilson Palacios midway through the half but received only a yellow card for the retaliation. In truth, the Honduran midfielder had trod on Pogba while he was on the ground and was deserving of the yellow card he picked up for his part in the incident. His play-acting in the direct aftermath of Pogba’s kick-out also left a lot to be desired.

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It seemed fitting that Palacios played a substantial role in France taking the lead in first-half injury time. As a right-wing cross was played in to the far post, Palacios tangled with Pogba again, needlessly barging him from behind. He received a second yellow and was off while Benzema confidently drove home the penalty to put his side in front.

After the own-goal made it 2-0, Honduras completely lost any semblance of discipline with Garcia, Figueroa, Garrido and Izaguirre all diving into reckless and dangerous challenges. Pogba was withdrawn after 57 minutes , probably for his own safety.

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With less than twenty minutes left, Benzema thumped home his brace from close-range after a set-piece had broken nicely into his path.

http://vine.co/v/MI1HxDET7It

A straight-forward win for France with Didier Deschamps surely thrilled his players avoided injury, kept their heads and began the tournament with a resounding victory.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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