France went to the top of Group E after they beat Honduras 3-0 in both sides’ opening match of the 2014 World Cup at Porto Alegre tonight. Two goals from Karim Benzema, and an own goal from Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares guarenteed the French three points.
It wasn't until the 15th minute that France created their first opportunity. Mathieu Valbuena who started brightly took a free kick on the right hand side. Jerry Bengston headed it clear but only as far as Blaise Matuidi whose shot was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Noel Valladares.
Les Bleus came close again in the 23rd minute. Manchester United's Patrice Evra broke down the left and picked out Antoine Griezmann with a precise cross. Griezmann's goalbound effort came back off the crossbar.
The first half's major talking point occurred in the 43rd minute. Paul Pogba controlled the ball in the penalty area and went down under a challenge from Wilson Palacois. Referee Sandro Ricci awarded the penalty and gave the Stoke City player a second yellow card. Karim Benzema scored from the spot to give Didier Deschamp's side the lead.
France doubled their lead early in the second half. Yohan Cabaye picked out Karim Benzema with an excellent cross field pass. Benzema hit it first time on the half volley from a narrow angle. The ball hit the post and came back off Vallarades. Despite the best efforts of the Honduras goalkeeper to keep it out goal line technology showed that the whole of the ball crossed the line.
It was almost three in the 64th minute. Good possession and build up play ended with Evra picking out Blaise Matuidi. Matuidi struck first time from six yards out but he could only find the side netting.
Honduras managed to get their first and only shot on target midway through the second half. Oscar Boniek Garcia seized on a mistake from Antonio Mabuva. Boniek got his shot away but there wasn't enough power behind it to trouble Hugo Lloris.
Benzema got his second and France's third of the night 18 minutes from time. The ball broke to him on the right hand side of the area and he hit a powerful right foot shot which found its way into the top of the net.
Benzema would have got had a hat trick but was denied by the Honduras goalkeeper from close range. The 1998 champions saw the game out comfortably and they will seldom have an easier game than this in World Cup football.
France: Hugo Lloris; Mathieu Debuchy, Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho, Patrice Evra; Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba (Moussa Sissoko 56), Mathieu Valbuena (Olivier Giroud 78), Yohan Cabaye (Antonio Mabuva 65); Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema.
Subs not used: Stephane Ruffier, Mickael Landreau, Lucas Digne, Barcary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Eliaquim Mangala, Morgan Schneiderlin, Loic Remy, Remy Cabella.
Booked: Patrice Evra (7), Paul Pogba (27), Yohan Cabaye (45+2).
Honduras: Noel Valladares, Brayan Beckeles, Victor Bernardez (Osman Chavez 46), Maynor Figueroa, Emilio Izaguirre; Andy Nagar (Jorge Claros 58), Wilson Palacois, Luis Garrido, Roger Espinoza; Jerry Bengston ( Oscar Boniek Garcia 46), Carlo Costly.
Subs not used: Donis Escober, Luis Lopez, Juan Carlos Garcia, Juan Pablo Montes, Edder Delgado, Mario Martinez, Marvin Chavez, Jerry Palacios, Rony Martinez.
Booked: Wilson Palacois (27), Boniek Garcia (53).
Sent off: Wilson Palacois (43).
Referee: Sandro Ricci (Brazil).
Extratime.ie man of the match: Karim Benzema (France).