Flair wins over physicality
France came into this game with many people tipping them as the dark horses to win the tournament.
Honduras came into this came with accusations of excessive physicality during some friendly matches, their performance in this match will only enhance this reputation.
Early in the first half one of the key men for France, Paul Pogba, lashed out after a clash with Wilson Palacios. Up to this point Pogba was at the centre of everything France did. Pogba may claim he was provoked in stamp by Palacios which was missed by the officials. However there could have been little defences if the ref had brandished a red card for his reaction, reminiscent of David Beckham in 98. He can think himself fortunate he only got a yellow.
No too long after Pogba and Palacios clashed again, this time in the Honduran penalty area. The ref pointed to the penalty spot after Palacios impeded Pogba while both players challenged for a header. Palacios was given a second yellow card for the foul and Honduras were down to 10 men.
The spot kick was taken by Karim Benzema, who showed great composure after quite a wait and calmly beat the Honduran keeper.
Palacios was the only Honduras player to see red, but found on Patrice Evra and Mathieu Valbuena were just 2 examples of fouls which could have easily seen red cards issued for.
The next French goal will be controversially remembered for the first occasion that technology to decide a goal. Benzema’s show hit the post and the rebound was bundled over the line buy the Honduras keeper Noel Valladares. It wasn’t clear whether the entire ball crossed the line but the newly installed technology indicated that the entire ball had indeed crossed the line.
The controversy wasn’t the 1st use of technology but rather when replay was shown in the stadium the screen displayed the ball hitting the post and declaring no goal. Technology wasn’t needed to clarify if the ball had crossed the line at this point, it clearly hadn’t. When the crowd and the Honduran players read “no goal” on the big screen it lead to booing from the stands and protests on the field.
Fortunately the replay continued to play after the post shot to show the keeper embarrassingly fondling the ball across his own line. The entire ball was clearly over the line and thus time the screen read “goal”. The commentators questioned whether the goal line technology work or not. But this is undebatable. The technology works. The decision to show the replay of the ball hitting the post was wrong. But the replay answered the question whether the whole ball crossed the line.
Benzema went on to score another, making the scoreline 3-0 to France. It was clear the French were keen to get the game won and their focus was on the games which are to follow. However their professional performance will be lost in the goal-line-gate. The question of whether goal line technology works or not isn’t what people should be asking. Rather the question people should be asking is if it is possible to prevent replays of unnecessary action being played?