After a thrilling game between Switzerland and Ecuador opened up Group E action at the 2014 World Cup on Sunday, France and Honduras squared off. For the most part France dominated possession early in the game and got several quality chances.
French strikes found the cross bar multiple
Things between France and Honduras were tense and boiled over around the 25th minute in the first half. French midfielder Paul Pogba went down to the ground and the ball was still near him, in between his legs in fact. Meanwhile, Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios was still trying to get the ball away from Pogba.
In the process, Palacios looks like his back foot might have stepped on Pogba’s leg, and as he steps over Pogba to get to the ball and pry it away it looks like he kicks Pogba and more clearly steps on the leg.
It doesn’t look like Palacios was trying to blatantly stomp or stamp on him and it looks a little bit incidental and that he was going for the ball. That being said, it definitely could be considered unnecessarily aggressive and dangerous.
While Palacios was beginning to step away, Pogba sort of kicked at him starting the altercation between the two teams. Both players were awarded yellow cards for their role in the incident.
In the 43rd minute, those two got together again. This one it was Palacios who again was the instigator and Pogba was clearly the victim in this situation and he showed his maturity by not retaliating.
A ball was chipped into the box and Pogba went up to chest it down, that is when Palacios came barreling into his back like some kind of cornerback trying to knock a wide receiver out of bounds along the side line.
The referee gave Palacios a yellow card for the foul, which occurred inside the penalty box. Since Palacios already had a yellow from the previous run-in with Pogba, Palacios was given a red on double yellows and ejected from the game.
French forward Karim Benzema stepped up to the spot to take the penalty and went left easily putting it in the back of the net and giving his team the lead.
This was a huge turning point because it meant that the French team would play a Honduran team that only had ten players on the field. Since it happened right before the break, Honduras could take a moment to process it in the locker room and plan accordingly but it looked like it was going to be a rough second half.
In a less than routine game, the second half got off to an interesting start and we got our first chance to witness the goal line technology in use.
A Karim Benzema shot hit the far post and bounced back towards the keeper along the line. Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares dropped down and grabbed the ball and it looked like it was still on the line and not all the way over in some camera angles. In other camera angles it looked like it was clearly over the line and clearly a goal.
Ultimately goal line technology showed that it was over the line and a goal, but it was ruled an own goal since the ball first bounced off the goal keeper.
Later in the half Benzema added his second goal on a play that started as a set piece with a pass high out side of the box. The shot was deflected off a Honduran defender and came to Benzema inside the box and off to the far side.
Benzema ripped the ball into the top of the net to give France a 3-0 lead over Honduras. Unfortunately for Benzema this goal wasn’t his third, making up a hat trick.