France took the lead in the first half of their 2014 World Cup opener against Honduras after Karim Benzema calmly converted a penalty following a foul from Wilson Palacios on Paul Pogba.
Bleacher Report UK shared the vine of the confident spot kick:
Palacios and Pogba had already clashed earlier in the match when the official refused to award a foul to the French midfielder. Palacios repeatedly stamped on and kicked at the youngster, who retaliated by lashing out himself.
Both players were cautioned, and when Palacios tried to stop Pogba from heading a ball inside the box by bumping into him, the official had no choice but to hand the Honduras midfielder his marching orders.
The Telegraph's Jonathan Liew thought Palacios left quite the impression:
An astonishing half of football from Wilson Palacios. All men die, but that half will live forever.— Jonathan Liew (@jonathanliew) June 15, 2014
Footballfacts 101 shared the Vine of the challenge that led to the dismissal, wondering why Palacios would do something like that:
I really don't know what Wilson Palacios is thinking about here, absolutely ridiculous challenge! http://t.co/S7ElG4rEIe— FootballFacts101 (@FootballFact101) June 15, 2014
France dominated the first half against Honduras and hit the crossbar twice, but the Central Americans were able to regain their composure following the first incident between Pogba and Palacios.
Most of the danger from Les Bleus had come from the right wing, and Didier Deschamps' side moved away from deep passes to that side of the pitch later in the half. Honduras looked like they would survive the first half rampage, until Benzema stepped up and converted his penalty.
Via SB, OptaJean (in French) shared this little fact:
Benzema scores France's first penalty goal in a World Cup since Zizou's against Italy in 2006. [@OptaJean]— SB (@Realmadridplace) June 15, 2014
MisterChip made his contribution as well:
Benzema is the 3rd Frenchman to score a penalty in his World Cup debut, after Verriest (1934) and De Bourgoing (1966)— MisterChip (English) (@MisterChiping) June 15, 2014
Insert obligatory Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo joke:
Karim Benzema has more goals than Ronaldo and messi combined in the world cup #legend— Quaresma⚽ (@ItsMatthewMalek) June 15, 2014
As shared by Sergi Dominguez, the French forward is on quite a roll:
Benzema's first goal in World Cup (WC debut too). He's now scored 7 goals in last 7 matches with Les Bleus.— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) June 15, 2014
Pogba is on a yellow card, and the Juventus youngster will be on a short leash for the second half following his earlier incident. Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe broke down the importance of the midfielder to this French side:
NBC Sport's Arlo White thought the midfielder perhaps should have seen his marching orders as well, unlike the vast majority of pundits commentating on the match:
This could get very ugly for Honduras. Palacios did not cover himself in glory, but Pogba is very fortunate to still be in the game #FRAvHON— Arlo White (@arlowhite) June 15, 2014
Goal.com's Nick Sabetti was one of many in the youngster's corner:
In fairness to Wilson, in CONCACAF, it might have been Pogba getting sent off instead. For what, I dont know. But something. #WorldCup— Nick Sabetti (@nicksabetti) June 15, 2014
France will now be defending a one-goal lead against a Honduras side down to 10 men, and their opponents have so far shown little when moving forward.
This tournament has already seen its fair share of crazy come-from-behind wins, however, so expect Les Bleus to push for a second goal early in the second half.