Jun 15, 2014, 4:56 PM EDT
France dominated from front to back, and Honduras let any upset chance for an upset get away, as Karim Benzema scored twice and forced an own goal to lead the favorites through 3-0.
Honduras withstood the French onslaught for almost the entire first half, until Wilson Palacios conceded a penalty a minute before the break, earning his second yellow card in the process, and his side could not hold up a man down.
France held over 70% of possession throughout the first half, and they clattered the post twice but could not find a way through for much of the first half. Honduras mounted a dangerous counter or two to show they weren’t totally incapable of an attack, but sustained attack proved difficult.
Unfortunately for Honduras, they couldn’t make it through to the break with a promising deadlock. With a minute to go in the half, Wilson Palacios went clattering into the back of Paul Pogba in the box, and it was more than enough for a penalty.
To make matters worse, it earned the Stoke City midfielder his second yellow card, having already gotten into a mess with Pogba once earlier that earned both men cautions. With Honduras down to 10 men, they were no match for France’s onslaught, and Benzema slotted home the penalty for their first lead.
Just after halftime, it was clear the French would take advantage of the numerical advantage. Pressing for a second to put the result out of doubt, they grabbed it soon after, although not without a touch of controversy.
Benzema unlocked things on the left edge, and he fired from a tight angle. The ball went past Valladares and out of his reach, so he let it go. With the goalkeeper in a relaxed state, the ball caromed off the post and directly back at him. Valladares tried to jolt back into action, but it was too late, and he fumbled the ball over the line for an own goal.
Let’s not take anything away from the striker (other than the official goal), since Benzema’s strike was of top quality, and France deservedly doubled their lead. Replays were inconclusive as to if the ball crossed the line no matter how many times they were played, but goal-line technology sprung into action and confirmed the score.
Benzema would get redemption for missing out on the official goal tally by bagging his brace later on. Patrice Evra went down in the box after banging knees with a defender, and a rip on net from Antoine Griezmann caromed off Evra’s body in a heap on the ground.
The richochet came right to Benzema, who blasted a howitzer into the back of the net for France’s third, all off his foot, if not all on his tally. Evra was taken off the pitch on a stretcher, but came back onto the field a few minutes later. He was noticeably hampered.
France – Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Cabaye (Mayuba 65′), Matuidi, Pogba (Sissokho 57′); Valbuena (Giroud 78′), Benzema, Griezmann.
Goals – Benzema (pen) 45′, 72′; Valladares (og) 48′
Honduras – Valladares; Figueroa, Bernardez (Chavez, 46′), Izaguirre, Beckeles; Palacios, Espinoza, Najar (Claros 58′), Garrido; Bengtson (Chavez 46′), Costly.
Discipline – Palacios (2nd yellow) 44′
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