France 3 Honduras 0: Three talking points

France 3 Honduras 0: Three talking points as Karim Benzema nets a hat-trick

France
3
Honduras
0

Don’t mess with the Honduran players

Honduras frustrated France for a lot of the Group E encounter as they used their strength to out-muscle the attackers, regularly resorting to aggressive and dangerous tackles to break up the play. In the build up to the tournament, the French were quite critical of the physical style of play used by the Central Americans, something that didn’t go down too well in the Honduras camp. Wilson Palacios highlighted just why the French took that view when he was sent off for two bookable offences, including a barge in the penalty area on Paul Pogba. The resulting penalty kick was converted by Karim Benzema and it was the first of his two goals. The French defence looked shaky when Andy Najar ran at full-backs Mathieu Debuchy and Patrice Evra. The defensive duo left left space in behind after attacking and Honduras’ wide players sought to exploit the space early on. They should be able to use the pace of the wingers to full effect against Switzerland and Ecuador, though.

Benzema is back to his best

Much had been made of the fact that Benzema only scored two goals in qualifying and there was debate over whether Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud should have started against Honduras. Benzema fully justified his selection, though, scoring two goals in his side’s 3-0 win. He would have had a hat-trick if the second goal hadn’t been given as an own goal. Benzema also made a great contribution to his team with balls being played to his team-mates and shrugging off defenders, allowing space for others. He was arguably the unsung hero for Real Madrid as they went onto the Champions League and the Frenchman showed many of the qualities in the game against Honduras that he did whilst playing for los Blancos. He will have to keep up the level of performance he showed on Sunday if France are to go far in the tournament.

The French defence needs some shoring up

Before the tournament began, France’s defence was highlighted as the area that needed improvement and it showed in the first half. Madrid’s highly-rated Raphael Varane and Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho looked uneasy when they had to compete in the air. But Honduras didn’t work the centre-halves hard enough or as often enough as they should have done and Varane and Sakho were to a degree, let off the hook. Coach Didier Deschamps may have to change things for games against better teams if Varane and Sakho look shaky against their next opponents Switzerland. Palacios’s 42nd-minute sending off was a major contributing factor to Honduras’s defeat and they didn’t look particularly threatening in the second half. So it was a relatively straightforward night for Deschamps’s defence but it could prove a much different story against better opposition.

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