BUENOS AIRES, Brazil — The first ever World Cup goal to be awarded via goal-line technology helped France to a convincing 3-0 victory over 10-man Honduras in Porto Alegre.
Karim Benzema, who had put France ahead via a first half penalty, fired a shot against the post only for Honduras keeper Noel Valladares to inadvertently nudge it over the line.
The goal was awarded by the referee after the goal-line technology — introduced for the first time at the World Cup by FIFA — instructed him the ball had crossed the line.
Replays inside the stadium led to boos from some supporters, as the big screen flashed up ‘no goal’ for the initial effort that hit the upright, then ‘goal’ after the ball had cannoned off Valladares.
Aside from the confusion it was a routine win for an energetic France side, whose task was made easier when Honduras went down to 10 men.
Wilson Palacios, who plays for English Premier League side Stoke, had already been booked when he barged into Paul Pogba, conceding a penalty and attracting a second booking.
Benzema duly dispatched the spot kick, before his fine effort from Yohan Cabaye’s pass led to the second.
The Real Madrid striker duly added a third, pouncing on a loose ball int the area to fire emphatically into the roof of the net.
Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador
The other game in Group E on Sunday was a tale of two super subs for Switzerland as an injury time winner from Haris Seferovic broke Ecuadorian hearts in Brasilia.
The striker came off the bench to pounce in the dying seconds of the game after another sub — Admir Mehmedi — had canceled out Enner Valencia’s early header.
It meant that after nine matches at the World Cup, there is still to be a draw.
After a low key opening it was Ecuador who struck first, as Enner Valencia planted a firm header into the net from Walter Ayovi’s center.
Switzerland, tipped by many as World Cup dark horses, struggled to get into any sort of rhythm and squandered a succession of set pieces.
But its two-time European Champions League winning coach Ottmar Hitzfeld got his half time tactical tinkering just right and it drew level within minutes of the restart.
Hitzfeld brought striker Admir Mehmedi on for Valentin Stocker and the Freiburg forward nodded home from close range.
Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio saved well from Jefferson Montero before Josip Drmic had a goal ruled out for offside as the match neared a dramatic conclusion.
Ecuador had a great chance to find the net but Michael Arroyo was tackled brilliantly by Valon Behrami, who then launched a counter attack.
The referee played an excellent advantage after Behrami was fouled and the move ended with Seferovic finishing off Ricardo Rodriguez’s low cross.
France take on Honduras in Group E’s other match Sunday before Bosnia and Herzegovina make their World Cup debut against Argentina.