France beat Honduras 3-0


Karim Benzema scored twice as France became the first team to benefit from goalline technology at a World Cup in their victory over 10-man Honduras.

The moment occurred in the 48th minute for France’s second goal, when it ruled keeper Noel Valladares nudged Karim Benzema’s shot over the line.

The Real Madrid forward gave France the lead from the spot after Paul Pogba had been fouled by Wilson Palacios.

Benzema added a late third with a vicious strike from a tight angle.

The match will be remembered for that historic moment when the GoalControl tool was called into action.

Brazilian referee Sandro Meira Ricci awarded the goal straight away as Benzema’s sidefoot effort came off the far post, rolled across the line, bounced off Valladares and appeared to fully cross the line before the keeper could claw the ball back into play.

At first the system ruled ‘No Goal’, causing confusion inside the Porto Alegre stadium when that message was displayed on the big screen.

But that was for the initial hit off the post. A second judgement then came on whether the ball crossed the line after coming off the Honduras keeper.

Despite the technology showing the ball had clearly crossed the line, Honduras players and coaching staff remonstrated with the officials. They were already down to 10 men following Palacios’s red card for pushing over Pogba, and this was another bitter blow.

But they had little to complain about regarding the end result. France were brilliant, and should be rightly considered as strong contenders for the title.

They had already gone close before the penalty through Blaise Matuidi, when his shot was pushed over by Valladares, and through the exceptional Antoine Griezmann, whose header struck the bar.

That was despatched from the spot with confidence by Benzema, who battled hard for his team up front against a physical Honduras defence. For France’s second, the post denied Benzema what would have been a hat-trick with goalkeeper Valladares being awarded the goal for his deflection.

There was no doubt about his third. Diminutive Mathieu Valbuena delivered an excellent free-kick from the right which found Griezmann. The 23-year-old Real Sociedad forward’s low drive was blocked, but there was Benzema to blast the rebound into the roof of the net.

France can now seal their passage into the knockout round with victory over neighbours Switzerland, who earlier defeated Ecuador, in what promises to be an exciting clash at the 2014 Fifa World Cup on Friday.