Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
France's win could have been a lot more lop-sided
by Paul Kennedy, June 15th, 2014 6:36PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  france, honduras, world cup 2014

MOST COMMENTED

By Paul Kennedy
(@pkedit)

The French press said France was given an early Christmas present when the Bleus were grouped with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras at December's World Cup draw. Honduras was certainly a gift as the Bleus easily disposed of the Catrachos, 3-0, in Belo Horizonte on Sunday.

One-way traffic. Certainly, Wilson Palacios' red card late in the first half ended the Catrachos' chances, but it was all one-way traffic from beginning to end in the first mismatch of the World Cup. (Sorry Oranje fans, Friday's Dutch win over Spain wasn't that one-sided.)

Blaise Matuidi and Antoine Griezmann had already hit the crossbar when Karim Benzema put the Bleus ahead from the penalty spot going into halftime. From then on, it was target practice as France peppered poor Honduran keeper Noel Valladares. The final stats were France with a 20-4 edge in shots, 8-0 edge in corner kicks and 68-32 percent edge in possession.

The Bleus' 8-0 win over Jamaica in their final warm-up might have given some French fans the idea that the Bleus could put eight past another Concacaf opponent, but Valladares kept Honduras in the game with seven saves.

GLT: Right call, wrong picture. The game turned on the second goal in the 48th minute. Benzema's shot hit the far post and rebounded straight into Valladares' hands, but the Catracho keeper couldn't keep the ball out of the goal.

The goal-line technology showed the initial shot had not crossed the line but the rebound did. The Hondurans were upset with the call, but the goal stood. (Benzema's goal was ruled an Valladares own goal. Certainly, you could argue the ball would not have gone into the goal but for it hitting off Valladares' gloves.)

The confusion was with the initial image -- of a "no-goal" call -- on the shot off the post. Said French coach Didier Deschamps, "Obviously, I can put myself in their position and, of course, they were very angry and so were the fans -- because if you're going to show an image it should be the right one.''

New-look France impresses. Who needs Franck Ribery? Or Samir Nasri? This wasn't an entirely different team from the one that mutinied in South Africa four years ago. Patrice Evra, the captain of the rebellion, was in the middle of the rough and tumble of the tournament's nastiest game to date. Goalie Hugo Lloris, who has replaced Evra as the captain, was in South Africa, as was winger Mathieu Valbuena.

But this was a new French team in terms of its attacking spirit. Benzema was in the middle of the action all game, Griezmann and Valbuena caused Honduras all kinds of problems on the wings, and the midfield with Yohan Cabaye, Matuidi and the powerful Pogba dominated the Honduras midfield, making Roger Espinoza, one of the best midfielders in Concacaf, a non-factor.

So much for the Concacaf perfect record. After wins by Mexico and Costa Rica, Concacaf suffered its first defeat at the World Cup. Playing six current or former MLS players, Honduras put on the worst performance of any team so far at the World Cup.

The Catrachos were a far cry from the team that beat the USA in San Pedro Sula and Mexico in Mexico City. Frankly, they could have lost by a lot more than three goals.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Three takeaways from AFC Asian Cup final    
The AFC Asian Cup treated fans to thrills throughout the three weeks of the Asian championship ...
Americans take stock of 2015 opener    
The USA twice took the lead against Chile Wednesday but lost for the third straight time. ...
Tony DiCicco: Hope Solo has used up her bonus points     
Tony DiCicco coached the USA to crowns at the 1996 Olympics, 1999 Women's World Cup and ...
Three takeaways from Chile-USA    
In their first match of 2015, the Americans twice took the lead on the road but ...
Chile-USA Player Ratings     
The USA scored two fine goals but otherwise failed to impress while falling 3-2 at Chile ...
Diskerud can't wait to begin new adventure    
For a lot of players, January camp is not their idea of fun. Getting up early. ...
Tab Ramos' next chapter begins     
An important victory, the 2-0 win over El Salvador that qualified the USA for the 2015 ...
Three takeaways from USA-El Salvador    
In the end, the USA got the job done, but it was hardly impressive. It is ...
Will this Tab Ramos team find its rhythm?    
On Saturday, we'll find out whether the USA will qualify for the U-20 World Cup. The ...
Zusi: Complacency and injuries stung Sporting KC    
One of the most concerning injuries for Jurgen Klinsmann's 2014 World Cup group is the foot ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives