PORTO ALEGRE – Gp E: France 3 Honduras 0
—- Confusion over goal-line technology exploded as France claimed a decisive victory against Honduras in their opening match in Group E at the southern-most point of the World Cup.
Les Bleus were leading 1-0 in the 48th minute when Karim Benzema, who had scored the first goal, placed an angled effort wide of the right hand of goalkeeper Noel Valadares.
The ball struck the keeper’s left-foot and ricocheted back across the goal-line. Valadares reached for the ball, failed to hold it initially then pulled it back into his chest.
The GLT image flashed up ‘No goal’ on the video screens at both ends of the ground just as Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci pointed to the centre-circle for a goal.
As the Hondurans protested in fury so the technology signal repeated with a ‘goal’ designation.
Clearly the system had registered ‘no goal’ when the ball ricocheted down off the post but then registered ‘goal’ because Valadares had fluffed the ball over the line as he struggled to retrieve it but the confused anger of the Hondurans and their coach, Luis Suarez, was easy to understand.
The first half had also had a share of controversy. France veteran Patrice Evra was booked for a late tackle after only four minutes then both Paul Pogba and Honduras’ Wilson Palacios were booked after a tangle of legs and bodies.
That was in the 25th minute. In the 42nd Palacios was sent off for a second yellow card after barging Pogba in the back in the penalty box. Benzema duly shot France 1-0 ahead from the penalty spot for his seventh goal in his last seven internationals.
Hence to the second half and the confusion over the second French goal before Benzema thrashed home the third from an angle after Debuchy had a first effort blocked. That was Benzema’s eighth goal in his last seven internationals.
The goal-line confusion was not the only technological hitch. Problems with the public address system meant the two national anthems could not be played out in the stadium before the game.