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June 15, 2014
• Estádio José Pinheiro Borba (Beira-Rio), Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul
Referee: Sandro Meira Ricci
• Attendance: 43012
K. Benzema 45', 72'
N. Valladares 48' (own goal)
That's it from Porto Alegre. Stay tuned for Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina, which starts in an hour. Thanks for joining me, Mohammed Ali, tonight. Good night!
FT: FRA 3-0 HON: A comfortable, convincing game by a French squad that is displaying some unity. But this game will be remembered for the goal-line technology drama that marred the second strike. But Benzema's double puts Honduras away, as France hit the ground running.
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: France 3-0 Honduras
90' + 2'
Aside from Mexico-Cameroon on Friday afternoon, no other game has seen less than three goals scored! We are now into the tenth game at a goal-laden World Cup!
90' + 1'
MATUIDI! France striving for a fourth, but they might just have to settle for three. Lovely movement again down the wing, towards Matuidi on the edge of the box, but he sends his drive over the bar.
THREE minutes added on here at Beira-Rio.
What now for Honduras? Hopes may have been buoyed by a 0-0 draw v England, but they were absolutely put to the sword tonight. Not expected to go through, but they have a tough test against Ecuador next on Friday.
France still very much camped in the opposition half here, as Griezmann is unsuccessful with an opportunity, before Patrice Evra drills in one from the left. Towards Griezmann, who gets his header away, despite being pushed. It is wide.
Honduras with a meek penalty shout as Garcia goes over in a rare foray into the France box, but the referee waves play on. Probably not surprised with the tough tackling they've displayed tonight.
Yellow CardLuis Garrido
YELLOW CARD - Luis Garrido: The Honduras player is booked by referee Sandro Ricci. There is seven minutes left to go.
Karim Benzema is the first French player to score two in a World Cup game since the legendary Zidane in the final of 1998.
France winding down here, with three goals - and three points in the bag. Didier Deschamps' men take on Switzerland in Salvador at the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova on Friday.
SUBSTITUTION - Mathieu Valbuena off for Olivier Giroud. The Olympique de Marseille man has been in irresistible form tonight. Stunning play, and he deservedly walks off with an ovation.
Honduras are well out of this. Carlos Costly, the front striker is unbelievably isolated, with Honduras putting all of their resources on defending here. Luis Suarez looking towards the next game.
France are heading to their first opening World Cup win since 1998 (also 3-0, against South Africa). This is only their second group victory out of ten since that glorious night in Paris 16 years ago.
GOAL! FRANCE 3-0 Honduras - BENZEMA! Doubt that this one will be classed as a hat-trick, after Valladares' own goal. But this one is undeniably his. Stunning strike, a fierce drive from an acute angle and into the top corner after poor defending from Debuchy's effort.
OUCH! Honduras are really doing themselves no favours here. Valbuena completely hacked down, and writhes around in pain. Honduras, down to ten, have already used all of their substitutions.
France reached the final in 1998, eliminated in the groups in 2002, finalists in 2006, eliminated in the groups in 2010. Do you see a pattern emerging here?
GARCIA! Honduras with their first real chance of the game. The substitute races clear of a static French defence, but sees his tame effort saved by Hugo Lloris, who has done little tonight.
Rio Antonio Mavuba
Mavuba, the LOSC Lille captain, will inject steel to a France midfield that will be beginning to flag in these closing stages. Will slot in front of the defence.
SUBSTITUTION - FRANCE: Yohan Cabaye is off, replaced by Rio Mavuba. Clever moves from Deschamps - the two men subbed off are the two men on bookings.
MATUIDI! Side-netting. France going for the jugular here. A superb attacking movement from Deschamps' men. Pass, move, pass move. Griezmann towards Matuidi, who diverts it wide of goal. Almost 3-0.
Yohan Cabaye strikes from distance, but he fires well over the bar. Less than half an hour to go, as France seek to make a winning start to Group E at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Past the hour mark here in Porto Alegre, and Honduras, who are down to ten men, are now out of substitutions, with Claros the third introduction into the game. Damage limitation for Suarez's men, who are being bested by the French.
SUBSTITUTION - Honduras: Andy Najar is off for Jorge Claros.
CHANCE FOR FRANCE! Mathieu Debuchy on the overlap, picks up a loose pass. Towards the centre, but the prospective cross is blocked behind by Figueroa.
SUBSTITUTION - FRANCE: Paul Pogba departs, he is replaced by Moussa Sissoko.
VALBUENA! Wide for 3-0. And it should've been a third. France piling on the pressure in numbers. Great interchange, with Griezmann picking up the Marseille man, who curls an effort wide.
BENZEMA! Good save by Valladares. Benzema does well to pick up a cross into the centre. One touch to hold the ball, and strike into the midriff of the goalkeeper, who bats it away. Great save.
Yellow CardB. García
In the melee, there was a booking for Oscar Garcia - who fouled Patrice Evra soon after the goal. France are really on top here.
Well, the match has been turned over on its head here, primarily because of that Benzema strike. Superb ball from Cabaye towards Benzema, who has struck a BEAUTIFUL volley off the post. It lingers on the line before Valladares tries to keep it from going in. It did cross the line. 2-0, and we move on!
YES, GOAL! The goal has been given! What drama here in Porto Alegre, the first real test for FIFA and goal-line technology. Honduras' Luis Suarez is apoplectic on the touchline, but the referee was right. This was a goal. It did cross the line!
The referee has signalled GOAL - but the fans are booing heavily. Did this actually go through the line? Well, we are awaiting the reply. This is a BIG moment for goal-line technology and world football.
Own GoalN. Valladares
GOAL FOR FRANCE! Karim Benzema has tucked it away, with a neat volley. But has this gone over the line? There is distinct controversy here. Goal line technology do your thing!
UNDERWAY for the second half. France get us started, attacking from right to left. What can les Bleus conjure up here with the opposition down to ten?
Honduras have made two changes at half-time as Luis Suarez goes for damage limitation in this second period.
HT: FRA 1-0 HON: Admittedly, this hasn't been one of the free-for-all fixtures that we've witnessed at this World Cup. Valbuena outstanding on the right of France's front three. But it is Benzema's penalty that settles this first half.
HALF-TIME in Porto Alegre: France 1-0 Honduras (Benzema penalty, 45')
45' + 3'
VALBUENA! Fine free-kick from the Marseille man. Superb delivery from the left, and he almost catches Valladares unawares, but the Honduran goalkeeper beats it away at his near post.
45' + 2'
Yellow CardYohan Cabaye
45' + 2'
Long cross into the box from Espinoza, and Hugo Lloris races off his line to take comfortably. The Tottenham shot-stopper has seen little action.
45' + 2'
YELLOW CARD - Yohan Cabaye: The second of the French midfield trio to be handed a booking for a late challenge. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder is frustrated at that.
45' + 1'
We are into the first minute of three signalled at the end of this first half at Beira-Rio.
Penalty GoalKarim Benzema
GOAL! France 1-0 Honduras - Benzema tucks away the penalty. Coolly taken, despite the delay. Sends Valladares the wrong way, and France are ahead in this World Cup Group E fixture.
It is Karim Benzema, who was out of the 2010 World Cup squad to take.....
RED CARD - Wilson Palacios! A second bookable offence, as Pogba is upended in the penalty box. Cabaye with a cheeky pass into the box towards Pogba, who is body-checked. Quick decision from the referee. Palacios is off.
PENALTY TO FRANCE!
Corner to France as Beckeles receives medical treatment. Honduras down to ten momentarily.
BENZEMA! Great chance! Fine move from Pogba, as Debuchy picks up the loose ball. Bernardez goes down unopposed, but play continues - much to Honduras' chagrin. The ball finds its way to Benzema in an acute angle, but instead of squaring, he opts to shoot. Beckeles blocks it away for a corner.
Luis Suarez's men go forward in good possession of the ball as Palacios cuts in past Blaise Matuidi. But a wayward pass puts paid to their chances, as the ball rolls out for a throw-in, despite being in a promising position.
Benzema on the receiving end of a push from Maynor Figueroa when in possession. But the referee has ordered play on. A poor decision from the local Brazilian official.
Les Bleus continue to pile on the pressure, as Matuidi makes a timed run into the area, before the ball is deflected behind. Corner to the Gallic nation, but they can't make something from it.
Pogba looking a bit jittery in the midfield, as he is easily dispossessed before Honduras go on the counter. Najar makes good progress on the wing, as he finds Espinoza. But Mamadou Sakho more than holds his own.
France consolidating possession at the minute, with Honduras unable to test Lloris yet again as a flying delivery goes far and wide over the bar. Les Bleus have not won an opening World Cup game since 1998, and a tournament opener (WC/Euro) since 2004.
Past the half-hour mark now, as both sets of players move on from that unsavoury episode. The ball finds its way towards Valbuena, the creative hub of the France side, but the winger is unable to generate an opportunity.
Yellow CardWilson Palacios
YELLOW CARD - Both Paul Pogba and Wilson Palacios booked for their part in this incident by referee Sandro Ricci, and looking at the replay - it is a hugely sensible decision by the referee. Pogba did not actually retaliate at Palacios, only just caught the trailing leg. Palacios made a right meal of that!
Yellow CardPaul Pogba
Both Pogba and Palacios are milking the attention here, with the medical teams out to attend to both players. Not sure there was much in here, but we await the TV replays. This was all off-camera, in a situation similar to David Beckham v Argentina in 1998.
CONTROVERSY! Paul Pogba and Wilson Palacios go at it, but both players' legs are tangled as the duo go down before a melee ensues between the two countries. The referee needs to do something here.
Carlos Costly does well to hold up the play on the left side. Crosses towards the far post, but the Europeans get the ball away as Blaise Matuidi drives up the midfield. Towards Valbuena again, who picks out Benzema in the centre. Headed over!
GRIEZMANN!! OFF THE BAR! Honduras cling onto the goalless scoreline as another chance goes begging for les Bleus. Lovely cross, at a decent height for the Sociedad winger. Gets up well ahead of the defender, but slams his effort against the woodwork!
Tackles flying in left, right and centre, as Honduras live upto their physical label. A couple of fouls conceded by the Central Americans, who are yet to test Hugo Lloris!
France have only won one game out of their previous nine in a World Cup group stage - that was against Togo in Germany in 2006. Can they improve that record tonight in Porto Alegre? It is looking good so far.
MATUIDI!! What a chance! A fantastic save from Valladares who palms the ball off the crossbar and out of play! Valbuena with the inviting cross from the right. Headed away by Beckeles and Matuidi strikes powerfully. The goalkeeper makes the save, as it exits via the woodwork.
The referee is pausing play for a while to tick off a few players in the penalty box after a small kerfuffle ahead of the free-kick. But Valbuena is standing over it once again.
France turning on the style here, as Paul Pogba pulls the strings in the midfield. Valbuena released on the right hand side, and he beats Izaguirre to the loose ball. But the Celtic full-back has upended the winger! Free-kick.
Free-kick for France. Valbuena over it on this near hand side, but the Marseille man's delivery is not as good as it could've been. Benzema gets on the receiving end of it, and it's drifted wide of the goal.
OUCH! Evra catches Andy Najar, and the referee awards a free-kick to the Central Americans. Nevertheless, the Brazilian official decides against booking the Manchester United left-back.
Yellow CardPatrice Evra
CHANCE FOR FRANCE! Wonderful move from Mathieu Valbuena on the right, as he plants a threatening cross from the wing. The goalkeeper is caught a little out of space, but flaps the cross away. Honduras are rattled.
France doing well in these opening stages, as Benzema attempts to combine with Griezmann on the left side. Honduras holding their own so far. The nation have not won a World Cup match to date.
A technical hitch is the reason why no national anthems was played on the PA system at Beira-Rio. No information about the teams either, which has led to a chorus of boos from the fans inside the stadium. Meanwhile, Honduras flagged offside through Costly.
Jerry Bengtson strikes from distance, but Raphael Varane blocks the ball well, and gets up the other side. Honduras will provide a real physical test for the back four, in the form of burly strikers Bengtson and Costly.
We are underway at Beira Rio, Porto Alegre as France kick off their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign, but without the fervour of La Marseillaise and its Honduran equivalent. Nevertheless, away we go!
Well, a bit of controversy here. The sides are out in Porto Alegre, but the referee - Brazilian Sandro Ricci - has immediately told the teams to begin the round of handshakes. No national anthems played. Bizarre!
Meanwhile, France are somehow incident-free in the World Cup so far! Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi have spoken about the positive atmosphere in the side, based at Ribeirao Preto. But a bizarre news story emerged this week about a drone invading the privacy of the team's base. Honduras have claimed that this was not of their doing, with FIFA opening an investigation.
Bit of controversy pre-match. Earlier this year, French television aired a programme about the Honduran side, and the country in general called 'Les Miserables'. A documentary that the national team didn't take too well. Forward Jerry Bengtson said: "There will be a bit of rancour for us in the match against France. We will give our all to show that we are not 'miserable'. They will see what we can do."
HONDURAS SUBS: Lopez, Osman Chavez, Montes, Juan Garcia, Jerry Palacios, Mario Martinez, Delgado, Oscar Garcia, Rony Martinez, Claros, Marvin Chavez, Escober.
FRANCE SUBS: Ruffier, Cabella, Giroud, Mavuba, Mangala, Sagna, Digne, Sissoko, Remy, Koscielny, Schneiderlin, Landreau.
STATS: Franck Ribery was France's top scorer and assist provider in the qualifying stages with five goals and six assists in 10 games. For Honduras, Jerry Bengtson was the top marksman with nine goals in 12.
TEAM NEWS: Didier Deschamps names his best possible 11, with Antoine Griezmann - who was banned from the national team until December 31 - making his tournament debut. He is handed the nod ahead of Olivier Giroud who impressed in the 8-0 win over Jamaica last week. Mathieu Valbuena of Marseille also flanks Karim Benzema up front. For Honduras, Luis Suarez names Jerry Bengtson and Carlos Costly up, with Jerry Palacios only on the bench.
HONDURAS: Valladares; Izaguirre, Figueroa, Bernardez, Beckeles; Palacios, Garrido, Espinoza; Chavez, Bengtson, Costly.
FRANCE: Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Cabaye, Matuidi, Pogba; Valbuena, Benzema, Griezmann.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
This will be the first ever international meeting between France and Honduras. Les Bleus have won just one of their last nine games in a World Cup group stage - v Togo in 2006.
Already one result from Group E earlier this afternoon. Switzerland came from behind (the fifth team to do so) to beat Ecuador at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia. Real Sociedad's Haris Seferovic scored in the 93rd minute to pick up all three points for La Nati.
However, Honduras - despite their sketchy form - managed a 0-0 draw against England in a storm-interrupted pre-World Cup friendly in Miami just last weekend. Suarez's men are a very aggressive side, and how will that impact the France team?
But what of tonight's opponents? Honduras qualified for the World Cup comfortably from the CONCACAF section, but Luis Suarez's men have been off form since wrapping up their qualifying campaign.
France, now under the stewardship of World Cup winning captain Didier Deschamps, are notoriously slow starters in their opening campaigns. Their last win was the 3-0 victory over South Africa at Stade Velodrome in 1998. Les Bleus lost to Senegal in 2002, and drew their first games to Switzerland and Uruguay in 2006 and 2010.
Suffice to say, only four players remain from that 2010 squad. Hugo Lloris captains the side tonight, with Bacary Sagna, Mathieu Valbuena and Patrice Evra the only players with World Cup experience in this squad. Franck Ribery & Steve Mandanda both forfeited their place in the final 23 to injury.
France will be aiming to blot out the misery of their last World Cup campaign that unfolded in full view of the world's media in the sleepy village of Knysna in South Africa. After Nicolas Anelka's exclusion, came a full boycott of training before losing to the hosts 2-1, and being eliminated in disgrace.
But which French team will perform at this World Cup? That is the million dollar question. Will it be a reflection of the side that suffered a raft of controversy and ignominy in South Africa four years ago? Or will it be the collective unit that starred en route to the final in two of the last four World Cups? Only time will tell.
It could've been so different for Les Bleus, who were down and out on that freezing night in Kiev back in November. Having just lost 2-0 to Ukraine, and then Laurent Koscielny to a red card, it appeared that Didier Deschamps' men had their World Cup dreams dashed. Days later, a scintillating 3-0 win in front of a partisan crowd in Saint-Denis earned them their ticket, and they make their debut here in Brazil TONIGHT.
Good evening and welcome to LIVE! FIFA World Cup action on Day Four as Group E gets going. From the Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, the southernmost host city in Brazil, France get their World Cup campaign underway against Honduras. Join me, Mohammed Ali for the action.
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