WORLD CUP: Benzema brace as French hammer 10-man Honduras





France banished the bad memories of four years ago by destroying a hapless 10-man Honduras side in Porto Alegre. Les Bleus totally dominated the game from start to finish. Two goals from Karim Benzema and an own goal by Honduras keeper Noel Valladares gave them an easy 3-0 victory.

Goal-line technology was used to confirm France's second goal had crossed the line

The French were the more comfortable side in the very early stages. Griezmann had the first effort at goal but it was blocked.  The Hondurans struggled to deal with France’s slick passing and excellent movement.

Mathieu Valbuena who whipped in two previous free-kicks which were easily dealt with by the Honduran defence, almost created the opening goal with a third. He was fouled by Izaguirre, before getting up to deliver a fantastic ball into the area that fell to PSG midfield man Blaise Matuidi, the French number 14 saw his effort tipped onto the crossbar by Honduran keeper Valladares.

France almost took the lead again, but to their frustration where denied by the woodwork. Patrice Evra’s left-wing cross found the head of Griezmann but his header smashed off the crossbar.

Moments later, they were frustrated again, this time it was the turn of Karim Benzema. The Real Madrid striker got on the end of a quick counter-attack, heading Valbuena’s cross over.

Things got slightly heated 25 minutes in. Wilson Palacios and Paul Pogba got in a tangle. Pogba then appeared to aim a kick at Palacios. Both players can count themselves lucky only to see yellow.

Honduras offered very little going forward, their best effort in the first period came just shy of 35-minute mark; Maynor Figueroa had an ambitious effort from long-range that sailed over – Lloris stood and watched – like he’d done for most of the half.

The French continued their domination towards the end of the first period, with Victor Bernardez down injured, France continued to play, Pogba lifted the ball into Benzema; his effort was blocked behind for a corner.

From the resulting corner, the French pressure finally paid off. The corner was cleared, only as far as Yohan Cabaye who played a delightful ball into Paul Pogba, as he controlled the ball on his chest, Wilson Palacios barged him in the back. The referee pointed to the spot, then produced a second yellow in the direction of Palacios; sending him off.

Karim Benzema, who was left waiting, calmly slotted the penalty beyond the keeper, sending him the wrong way in the process.

Just before the interval Valbuena almost scored from a wide free-kick, his effort was punched clear by the keeper.

Honduras made a double sub at half-time. It didn’t alter the pattern of play as it was 2-0 just after the restart; Benzema’s side-footed effort hit the post, and went in after the Honduran keeper Noel Valladares fumbled it over the line. After long deliberation from the goal-line technology system, the goal was finally given.

Valladares redeemed himself when he denied Benzema a second goal, after a fantastic flowing move down France’s left-hand side. France continued to play lovely stuff, this time Benzema and Valbuena linked up, but the little midfielder could only fire his effort wide.

France continued their relentless attacking, Matuidi was on the end of a lovely move, but his effort could only find the side netting.

It took Honduras until the 67th minute to have a shot on target, Boniek Garcia capitalised on Sahko’s slackness, he ran past the defence, but his shot was no problem for Lloris.

Karim Benzema added a third on 71 minutes. Valbuena’s free-kick was played back to Debuchy at the edge of the box, his shot fell to Benzema inside the box and the Real Madrid man grabbed his second goal of the night firing beyond Valladeres.

The French played the closing minutes out after a fine all-round display. They now play Switzerland in the second game, while the hapless Honduras’ next match is against fellow first-game losers Ecuador.


FRANCE: Lloris, Debuchy, Evra, Varane, Sakho, Matuidi, Pogba (Sissoko 57), Cabaye (Mavuba 65), Valbuena (Giroud 78), Griezmann, Benzema.

GOALS: Benzema 45P, 72, Valladares 48OG.

BOOKINGS: Evra 7, Pogba 27, Cabaye 45.

HONDURAS: Valladares, Figueroa, Bernardez (Chavez 46), Izaguierre, Beckeles, Garrido, Espinoza, Najar (Claros 58), Palacios, Costly, Bengtson (Garcia 46).

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Palacios 28, Garcia 53, Garrido 83.

SENT OFF: Palacios 43.


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