|Noel Valladares (c)|
France had a comfortable 3-0 victory over Honduras this afternoon in its opening Group E match in Porto Alegre, thanks to two goals by Karim Benzema and an own goal — following a shot by Benzema — that was tipped in by the Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
Honduras had to play with 10 men after Wilson Palacios was sent off in the final minute of a bruising first half, getting his second yellow card for barging into Paul Pogba near the penalty spot. The ensuing penalty was Benzema's first goal of the afternoon.
Two minutes into the second half, the French doubled their advantage when Benzema's wicked close-range shot from the left rebounded off the right post and hit Valladares's hand as he tried to scoop the ball off the line. In the stadium and on television, it was unclear whether the ball had completely crossed the line, but the new goal-line technology indicated that it had. Benzema added a third goal in the 72nd minute with another shot from an acute angle and at close range, this time from the right side.
France is at the top of Group E thanks to a better goal difference than second-place Switzerland, which won 2-1 earlier today. The two leaders will meet Friday in Salvador.