By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – France got their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start with an easy 3-0 win over Honduras at the Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre this afternoon (June 15th). A brace from Karim Benzema and an own goal did the damage to a limited Honduras outfit, who never looked like troubling the French following the dismissal of Wilson Palacios.
The game will be remembered for the first use of the innovative goal-line technology in the tournament. France’s second goal was controversial in the extreme, Benzema’s header rebounding off a post and Honduras goalkeeper Valladares spilling it over the line by millimeters.
The comprehensive victory leaves France top of Group E, ahead of Switzerland on goal difference after they beat Ecuador earlier in the day. The two lock horns on Friday at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
France were dominant from the off as Honduras simply looked to soak up pressure in a futile bid to secure a goalless draw against one of the top teams on the planet. It was a plan doomed to failure.
In first-half stoppage time, Palacios barged Paul Pogba over in the area and the referee awarded a penalty kick. Having already been booked for an earlier fracas with Pogba, Palacios was given his marching orders.
Benzema tucked away the penalty to put France 1-0 up at the interval. The controversial own goal doubled France’s lead on 48 minutes, and the game was over as a contest.
Benzema sealed the win on 71 minutes, blasting a shot into the roof of the net after Matuidi’s initial effort had been blocked. The French domination was complete, and they can now look forward to Friday’s big clássico with their European neighbors.
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