France took no time to eliminate the poor performance of the 2010 World Cup from their memory, by starting the World Cup with an easy 3-0 victory.
Byline: Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
RIO PORTO ALEGRE–Les Bleus were lead by forward Karim Benzema. He scored two out of the three goals against Honduras on Sunday. The French easily breezed by the Central American team 3-0.
However, the game did not start with a goal in the first 10 minutes of the match; instead the goal came right before halftime. At the 45 minute, Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios went for a clumsy aerial tackle in the penalty box.
The veteran midfielder already had got a yellow card at the 27 minute. One more card and Honduras would be reduced to 10 men. The Stoke City midfielder had apparently forgotten that fact and entered the tackle regardless.
Since he was nowhere near stealing the ball from the French player, the referee was forced to give France a penalty and give Palacios his second yellow card, which would cripple Honduras’ chances to get any sort of positive results from this match.
When the Real Madrid forward Benzema stepped up to take the penalty, the Frenchmen had calm look to his face as he approached the ball. He took two steps and then hammered the ball to the left hand side of the goal, sending Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares the wrong way, and giving France the 1-0 lead at the 45 minute.
For France, the second half would bring nothing but joy; but for Honduras, the second half would become a living nightmare.
Right after the second half kicked off, France would get their second goal at the 48 minute. Benzema would again be involved, but it would not be his goal. Midfielder Yohan Cabaye had the ball on the right hand side of the field; he spotted Benzema making a run into the heart of the box.
Cabaye sent a chest level pass across the field, the ball hit the ground in the penalty box, and the ball bounced directly to the Madrid forward. Benzema without any hesitation winded up and fired a volley shot to the right side of the goal.
The ball smacked off the post, and looked to bounce into the net, when all of sudden the ball changed direction and took bounce towards the flat footed Valladares. By the time he reacted, the ball had hit his hand and the ball crossed the line to give France a 2-0 lead.
However, this goal was decided by goal line technology, and it would count as an own goal on the goalie of Honduras. This technology was used for the fist time in World Cup history. Benzema has some mixed feelings about the goal line technology, but was happy that France kept their goal.
“I don’t know if it is good to have goal line technology, ’cause football is just like that. I mean, that is the beauty of it: sometimes you do not know if the ball goes in or not,” the French forward said in post-game conference. “But the essential is that it counted, I do think it is a good solution.”
After helping France go up by a two-goal lead, Benzema would get one final goal to make it 3-0 at the 72 minute. The 26-year old forward would collect a rebound of a shot in the penalty box.
He was swarmed by five defenders on the spot, but the 6’0 forward kept his composure and passed the ball a little above him to the right side of the penalty box. By doing so, he created a small window to take a shot.
The French forward did not waste a second and immediately fired a shot to the roof of the net. The powerful shot was too much for Valladares to contain and the ball bent his fingers and soared into the net, sealing the victory for France by a dominating 3-0.
“I thought Karim played particularly well, as did the team as a whole,” France Head Coach Didier Deschamps told The State. “I went for a mobile front line to avoid getting into an overly physical battle, to stretch their defense and tire them out. It took time, but it worked out in the end.”
Honduras will need to rebound the next game with Palacios and now possibly without their starting center back Víctor Bernárdez, who had left the game injured during the halftime break. Their next match will be against Ecuador on Friday, June 20 at Arena da Baixada.
As for France, they will be facing Switzerland on Friday as well, to possibly clinch a berth into the round of 16. The match will be played at the Arena Fonte Nova.
The highlights of this match can be seen on this link http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=intl:1884329, video provided by ESPN FC.