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Honduras came into today’s match with little expectations. The French roster has very few weaknesses, but one of them Honduras attempted to exploit in today’s match.
The French squad isn’t full of strong or big players and they can be pushed around a bit. Honduras figured the only way to get anything going in their favor would be to play an aggressive and physical game. Some of their tackles were late and unnecessary and led to five yellow cards (a double yellow led to a red for Wilson Palacios). They played an ugly game, but that was their only shot at gaining any points from the match.
France came into this tournament after barely beating Ukraine in the World Cup Qualifiers. Little was expected of the French but all tables were turned when they drew such an easy group. While many still believed at the beginning of the World Cup that France wouldn’t make it out of their group, the French proved to those people today that they can be a dangerous team. Benzema was adamant up front and should have left the game with a hat-trick, however, the referee ruled it an own goal on Honduras’ keeper.
France will make it out of their group and might even win it. Their next match is against a smaller and less physical Switzerland, a match they can definitely take control of. Look for the French to possibly leave the group undefeated if all of their players stay healthy.
Some injury concerns for the French: Patrice Evra leaving the field on a stretcher in the closing minutes of the game, and Yohan Cabaye seen icing his leg on the sideline after getting substituted for Rio Mavuba in the 65th minute. These are two very important players for France and they will need them going forward.
Honduras was drawn into this group as the fourth best team. They have nothing but physicality to play with and couldn’t trouble Lloris much in today’s match. Their best player, Wilson Palacios, left the match at the end of the first half due to a second yellow card, resulting in a red. His challenge on Pogba resulted in a penalty for France in which Benzema finished off.
Honduras doesn’t stand a chance in this group and can only hope for a miracle. They might be able to do to Switzerland what they did today to France and get lucky with a draw but Ecuador’s pace will outmatch Honduras’. This poor Central American team will not make it out of the group and will possibly end up with no points at all.
There is a huge difference between coming in first or second within this group. The winner of this group will go on to face the second place team in Group F, which will be either Iran, Bosnia & Herzegovina, or Nigeria, with Argentina likely winning the group. Thus, Argentina will go on to face the runner up in Group E. The France vs. Switzerland matchup next Friday in Salvador will be the most important one of the group stages for the two teams. The winner of the match will likely go on to take first in the group.
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