Domination, destruction and technology: how Stats Zone saw France 3-0 Honduras
Showing the same rough-house tackling that had rattled England, Honduras set about dismantling France but ended up demolished - and decimated. With les Bleus quickly settling into their stylish stride, the question was when not if they would score, and the answer was "just before half-time". They made the breakthrough from the spot after Wilson Palacios barged gormlessly into Paul Pogba; red card, penalty dispatched by Karim Benzema, half-time lead.
Two minutes into the second period, Benzema lashed a shot against the right-hand post; zipping back across the line, it deflected backwards off goalkeeper Noel Valladeres and across the line... just, becoming the first score confirmed by the goal-line technology. Thereafter it was a cakewalk, with Benzema making it three to complete a strong start for a France side who must expect to get some momentum up in this far from terrifying group.
France's domination was obvious as early as the 10th minute, by which time they had 71.7% possession.
The one-way traffic continued, but by halfway through the first period France had still only got 1 of their 6 shots on target.
France's dominance was most obvious when comparing passes which ended in the attacking third: 35 completed to Honduras's 4.
They got the breakthrough in the 44th minute, with Palacios sent off and Benzema tucking in the spot-kick.
It was only France's second shot on target, but by half-time Honduras were yet to trouble Hugo Lloris.
With 70.8% possession, France completed 274 first-half passes to Honduras's 96.
Two minutes after half-time, the jig was up when goalkeeper Valladares couldn't quite keep his own deflection out.
In the first 20 minutes after half-time, Honduras didn't have a single shot of any kind.
Furthermore, the final-third completed pass count in that period read: FRA 43, HON 1
France finished the job with a 72nd-minute goal from the busy Benzema.
The full-time shot count is indicative of France's dominance, but also profligacy: they'll need to sharpen their shooting.
France completed 593 of their 654 passes (91%). Honduras were less successful.
The final-third passes were even more one-sided.
France's cross completion was unusually high.
The Hondurans sure like a tackle...
...but France only committed one fewer foul
Facts and figures
- France have won their first World Cup match since the 2006 semi-final (v Portugal). They had drawn 2 and lost 2 since then.
- Karim Benzema is the first France player to score 2 goals in a single World Cup game since Zinedine Zidane scored a brace in the 1998 final.
- Benzema had 3 more shots (including blocked) in the game (7) than the entire Honduras side (4).
- 3 of France’s last 6 goals in the World Cup have come from the penalty spot.
- Honduras are without a World Cup goal in 479 minutes of action. Their last goal came in 1982 (v Northern Ireland).
- Only Germany and Italy (both 4) have benefited from more own goals in World Cup history than France (3).
- Honduras only conceded 1 more foul in the match than France (14-13).
- Honduras have won 0 of their 7 matches at World Cup finals (D3 L4).
- France finished with more than 70% possession for the first time in a World Cup match since 1966 (71.1%).
- Similarly that was Honduras’ worst return of possession in a single match at World Cup finals (28.9%).