PORTO ALEGRE — Karim Benzema scored twice as France beat 10-man Honduras 3-0 in a bruising World Cup clash on Sunday where goal-line technology awarded the first international goal in history.
Honduras became the first team to lose in the World Cup from North and Central America, after Costa Rica defeated Uruguay, 3-1, yesterday and Mexico held off Cameroon, 1-0, on Friday. The United States, the fourth and final team in the oft-maligned region known as CONCACAF, plays Monday at 4 p.m. against Ghana.
Three minutes into the second half between Honduras and France, the GoalControl computer referee was called into action when a Benzema volley hurtled off a post.
The ball flew across the face of the goal before hitting Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares and then rebounding into the goal.
Valladares tried to scoop the ball to safety, but Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci awarded the goal — classed as an own-goal — after consulting the instant technology.
“I saw that the ball crossed the line,” said Benzema. “I don’t know if having technology like this is good for football but the most important thing was that we have won.”
France coach Didier Deschamps was supportive of the new technology, but also concerned at the confusion caused as replays inside the stadium first showed Benzema’s initial shot had not gone in before confirming the ball had crossed the line after hitting Valladares’ hand.
Benzema opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Wilson Palacios was sent off for two bookable offenses on Paul Pogba.
And the Real Madrid striker rounded off a fine afternoon with an emphatic finish 18 minutes from time.
Victory moves France above Switzerland on goal difference in Group E after the Swiss beat Ecuador 2-1 earlier. The two European sides are set to meet next Friday in Salvador.
France’s game began in bizarre circumstances as neither sides’ national anthem was played before kick-off. Normality was restored once proceedings got underway as France dominated from the initial whistle.