Sunday, 15th June
France vs Honduras
in Porto Alegre.
France and Honduras have never met before in international
France may have made it to Brazil through the back door but they seem
to have landed on their feet in a group with Switzerland as the seeded team.
No Frank Ribery for France but hopefully their team spirit is
better than it was in South Africa 2010.
Having watched a last-minute Swiss victory against Ecuador, France
would know they needed to beat Honduras.
No national anthems were played so there was a little extra waiting
for the official FIFA start time to arrive.
Once the game did get underway, most of the early momentum came from
France; Honduras' Noel Valladares pushing a close-range left-footer on to the bar from
Honduras escaped again when Antoine Griezmann headed onto the bar in
the 23rd minute.
A few minutes later the Brazilian referee had a tough decision to
make; after Wilson Palacios and Paul Pogba tangled rather overenthusiastically. Palacios
wriggled and writhed, while Pogba tried to show that he was hurt too; although he kicked
out at Palacios while lying on the floor.
France could so easily have been down to ten men. Sandro Ricci stayed
calm, producing just a yellow card to each player. Both would have to be careful in what
had been a very physical start to the match.
Shortly before half-time, Yohan Cabaye crossed into Paul
Pogba who took the ball on his chest and was barged in the back by Wilson Palacios. Ricci
only had one choice this time.
After a lengthy delay, Karim Benzema - with sweat dripping down his face - put France in a
deserved lead from the penalty spot.
Half-time: France 1 - Honduras 0
France started the second-half with a man advantage but there was soon
some controversy with the second goal.
Karim Benzema's shot from the left came back off the far post (goal technology says no
goal) and hits Noel Valladares at the front post, the ball rolled over the line but the
goalkeeper scooped it back.
Benzema celebrated but the referee and linesmen weren't so sure. Goal
technology had said no goal, but now it was a goal. Clear enough and eventually the goal
was given to France; as an own goal.
Mathieu Debuchy's shot, from Mathieu Valbuena's pulled back free-kick, was blocked but
Karim Benzema was on hand to fire home the third goal for France; high into the roof of
the Honduras net.
The final twenty minutes was almost played at walking pace.
Final Score: France 3 - Honduras 0
1:0 - Karim Benzema (45 mins, penalty)
2:0 - Noel Valladares (48 mins, own goal)
3:0 - Karim Benzema (72 mins)
1-Hugo Lloris; 2-Mathieu Debuchy, 4-Raphael Varane, 5-Mamadou Sakho, 3-Patrice Evra;
19-Paul Pogba, 6-Yohan Cabaye, 14-Blaise Matuidi; 8-Mathieu Valbuena, 10-Karim Benzema,
18-Noel Valladares; 21-Brayan Beckeles, 5-Victor Bernardez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 7-Emilio
Izaguirre; 17-Andy Najar, 8-Wilson Palacios, 19-Luis Garrido, 15-Roger Espinoza; 11-Jerry
Bengtson, 13-Carlo Costl.
Referee: Sandro Ricci - Brazil
1 red card:
42 mins - Paul Pogba (France)
6 yellow cards:
7 mins - Patrice Evra (France)
27 mins - Wilson Palacios (Honduras)
27 mins - Paul Pogba (France)
45 mins - Yohan Cabaye (France)
52 mins - Boniek Garcia (Honduras)
82 mins - Luis Garrido (Honduras)
Switzerland vs Ecuador
2014 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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