Benzema stars as France crush Honduras
France have coasted to a 3-0 victory over Honduras in their opening in World Cup Group E encounter in Porto Alegre, with Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema grabbing a brace and starring in the victory.
Honduras' Wilson Palacios was sent off for a second bookable offence on 43 minutes after crashing into Paul Pogba, which resulted in a penalty that Benzema smashed home from the spot.
France got a second through an own goal from Honduras keeper Noel Valladares, after the ball had ricocheted off the post and against his arm. Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci consulted the World Cup's new goal-line technology GoalControl and deemed that the ball had, in fact, crossed the line.
Benzema put the victory beyond doubt when he hammered home a third from just outside the six-yard box on 72 minutes.
As well as the three points, France will be just as happy to have departed without serious injury after 90 minutes of late tackles and physical intimidation from their limited opponents.
France wasted no time setting the pace, with Antoine Griezemann and Mathieu Valbuena both impressive.
Griezemann, making his first competitive start, had a fine chance to open the scoring in the sixth minute when he took a poor clearance on the chest and saw his goalbound effort blocked.
Valbuena and Mathieu Debuchy were enjoying plenty of joy down the right and the former's cross caused Valladares to fumble.
Honduras invited pressure with a series of fouls that allowed Valbuena to send a series of testing free-kicks into the danger area.
Blaise Matuidi nearly scored from a half-cleared Valbuena delivery, controlling with his thigh then seeing a powerful shot brilliantly pushed against the bar by Valladares.
France went closer yet in the 23rd minute, Griezemann beating Maynor Figueroa to a Patrice Evra cross and heading against the crossbar.
The game could have changed moments later when Palacios tussled with Paul Pogba, the Honduran guilty of a couple of kicks at his opponent and Pogba retaliating by rashly flicking a leg out.
Both saw yellow cards, with Pogba particularly relieved.
After play resumed France's flow had deserted them, with Benzema beginning to show frustration at his lack of clear opportunities.
Palacios rectified that just before half-time when he barged through the back of Pogba as he shaped to shoot, earning a second yellow card and conceding a penalty.
Benzema fired home to make it 1-0.
Honduras reshuffled with two changes at the break but shipped a second inside three minutes.
It went down as an own-goal, Valladares palming fractionally over the line after Benzema's powerful shot bounced back across goal off the inside of the post.
Honduras boss Luis Suarez seemed unhappy with the verdict but without good reason.
Amid repeated nasty challenges a third seemed inevitable, but Matuidi spurned a glorious chance shortly after the hour when slotting Evra's pinpoint cross into the side netting.
Benzema then provided it with 18 minutes left.
Debuchy's long-range drive did not make it through a crowd of bodies but fell kindly for the centre forward, who hammered home an unstoppable shot at the near post.