Benzema stars for Les Bleus in violent clash

Karim Benzema was the star man in his first ever World Cup game as France easily beat a bloody-minded Honduras side. 

Rik Sharma

Les Bleus began the game well, with Antoine Griezmann going close twice.

Real Sociedad's wide man, chosen ahead of Arsenal's Olivier Giroud, hit the bar with a header from Patrice Evra's cross and had a shot blocked. 

It was a surprising selection, after Giroud partnered with Mathieu Valbuena and Benzema so well in the 8-0 destruction of Jamaica in the warm-up matches. 

As France pushed on, Honduras became increasingly aggressive in their attempts to stop them. 

Wilson Palacios was treading a fine line and his eventual sending off was no surprise. 

The combative - and that's putting it kindly - midfielder raked his studs over Paul Pogba's leg and the Frenchman reacted furiously.

Palacios was booked and Pogba got away without punishment for his angry response.

The same two players were involved in the game's key moment, not long before half-time.

Pogba leaped into the air to control a ball in the Honduras penalty area and Palacios piled into him from behind.

Referee Sandro Meira Ricci pointed to the spot and sent the Stoke midfielder off for his second booking.

Benzema, who had otherwise been quiet until that point, fired the ball into the left side of the goal, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

The striker was a key figure in the second goal, a controversy at the time but unnecessarily so.

Yohan Cabaye fizzed in a perfect diagonal ball into the box, which flew past the defenders and into Benzema's path at the back post.

He stroked it back across goal, where it hit the keeper's left-hand upright and bounced back towards Noel Valladares

The hapless keeper tried to grab it but palmed it over his own goalline, before hooking it back out. 

Goalline technology indicated it was a goal and France were 2-0 up, but it didn't stop Honduras from complaining about it.

Benzema later added another, lashing into the top right corner from eight yards out after a scramble in the box. 

Match facts

France: Lloris, Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra, Pogba (Sissoko 57), Cabaye Mavuba 65), Matuidi, Valbuena (Giroud 78), Benzema, Griezmann.

Booked: Evra, Pogba, Cabaye.

Goals: Benzema 45 pen, 72, Valladares 48 og.

Honduras: Valladares, Beckeles, Bernardez (Osman Chavez 46), Figueroa, Izaguirre, Najar (Claros 58), Wilson Palacios, Garrido, Espinoza, Bengtson (Boniek Garcia 46), Costly.

Booked: Wilson Palacios, Boniek, Luis Garrido.

Sent off: Wilson Palacios.

Referee: Sandro Meira Ricci (Brazil)


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