France beat 10-man Honduras 3-0 with the historic first use of goalline technology in a World Cup.
Les Bleus were hoping to finally end their dismal World Cup run, having won just one of the last nine games in this competition. Didier Deschamps was their Coach with Juventus prodigy Paul Pogba in the middle, but Franck Ribery ruled out by injury. Honduras were able to start striker Carlos Costly despite a knock in training and were fresh from holding England 2-2 in an ill-tempered friendly.
There were problems in Porto Alegre before kick-off, as the tannoy system broke down and the national anthems could not be played.
France had a sensational chance on 15 minutes when a free kick was flicked on for Blaise Matuidi, but his fierce half-volley was fingertipped on to the crossbar by 37-year-old goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
The Honduran woodwork was rattled again soon after, this time by an Antoine Griezmann header. Mathieu Valbuena ran on to a splendid cross-field pass, but Karim Benzema nodded over.
Pogba was extremely lucky to receive only a yellow card for kicking out at Wilson Palacios after being trodden on, so the Brazilian referee was lenient to the reaction foul.
Pogba showed the better side to his game when escaping between two players to set up a chance, but desperate defending from Victor Bernardez and Brayan Beckeles charged them down.
However, from the resulting move Pogba was barged in the back by Palacios for a penalty and second yellow card. Real Madrid striker Benzema kept his cool to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and put France in front on the stroke of half-time.
There was still time in stoppages for Valladares to beat away a swerving Valbuena free kick at the near post.
The drama wasn’t over yet, as Benzema got on the end of a smart cross and his half-volley smacked off the inside of the far post, back to the goalkeeper and out again.
This was the debut for goalline technology in a World Cup. The footage on the screens showed ‘No Goal,’ prompting boos from the crowd, then it continued for the moment the goalkeeper grabbed the ball off the line, at which point it was ‘Goal.’
Valladares denied Benzema another goal with a reaction save, then Matuidi hit the side-netting.
Benzema finally completed his brace – or in his eyes a hat-trick – when Valladares beat away a fierce strike on a set play, but the Real Madrid striker was ready to fire in the rebound from a tight angle.
France 3-0 Honduras
Scorers: Benzema pen 45, 72 (F), Valladares og 48 (F)
France: Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Pogba (Sissoko 57), Cabaye (Mavuba 65), Matuidi; Griezmann, Benzema, Valbuena (Giroud 78)
Honduras: Valladares; Beckeles, Bernardez (Chavez 46), Figueroa, Izaguirre; Najar (Claros 58), Garrido, Palacios, Espinoza; Bengtson (Boniek 46), Costly
Ref: Ricci (BRA)
Sent off: Palacios 43 (H)