1st Round Matches at Brazil 2014.
Sunday, 15th June
Group Match - Let's Get Physical
France vs Honduras in Porto Alegre.
France and Honduras have never met before in international football competition.
France may have made it to Brazil through the back door but they seem to have landed on their feet in a group with Switzerland as the seeded team.
No Frank Ribery for France but hopefully their team spirit is better than it was in South Africa 2010.
Having watched a last-minute Swiss victory against Ecuador, France would know they needed to beat Honduras.
No national anthems were played so there was a little extra waiting for the official FIFA start time to arrive.
Once the game did get underway, most of the early momentum came from France; Honduras' Noel Valladares pushing a close-range left-footer on to the bar from Blaise Matuidi.
Honduras escaped again when Antoine Griezmann headed onto the bar in the 23rd minute.
A few minutes later the Brazilian referee had a tough decision to make; after Wilson Palacios and Paul Pogba tangled rather overenthusiastically. Palacios wriggled and writhed, while Pogba tried to show that he was hurt too; although he kicked out at Palacios while lying on the floor.
France could so easily have been down to ten men. Sandro Ricci stayed calm, producing just a yellow card to each player. Both would have to be careful in what had been a very physical start to the match.
Shortly before half-time, Yohan Cabaye crossed into Paul Pogba who took the ball on his chest and was barged in the back by Wilson Palacios. Ricci only had one choice this time.
After a lengthy delay, Karim Benzema - with sweat dripping down his face - put France in a deserved lead from the penalty spot.
Half-time: France 1 - Honduras 0
France started the second-half with a man advantage but there was soon some controversy with the second goal.
Karim Benzema's shot from the left came back off the far post (goal technology says no goal) and hits Noel Valladares at the front post, the ball rolled over the line but the goalkeeper scooped it back.
Benzema celebrated but the referee and linesmen weren't so sure. Goal technology had said no goal, but now it was a goal. Clear enough and eventually the goal was given to France; as an own goal.
Mathieu Debuchy's shot, from Mathieu Valbuena's pulled back free-kick, was blocked but Karim Benzema was on hand to fire home the third goal for France; high into the roof of the Honduras net.
The final twenty minutes was almost played at walking pace.
Final Score: France 3 - Honduras 0
1:0 - Karim Benzema (45 mins, penalty)
2:0 - Noel Valladares (48 mins, own goal)
3:0 - Karim Benzema (72 mins)
1-Hugo Lloris; 2-Mathieu Debuchy, 4-Raphael Varane, 5-Mamadou Sakho, 3-Patrice Evra; 19-Paul Pogba, 6-Yohan Cabaye, 14-Blaise Matuidi; 8-Mathieu Valbuena, 10-Karim Benzema, 11-Antoine Griezmann.
18-Noel Valladares; 21-Brayan Beckeles, 5-Victor Bernardez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 7-Emilio Izaguirre; 17-Andy Najar, 8-Wilson Palacios, 19-Luis Garrido, 15-Roger Espinoza; 11-Jerry Bengtson, 13-Carlo Costl.
1 red card:
42 mins - Paul Pogba (France)
6 yellow cards:
7 mins - Patrice Evra (France)
27 mins - Wilson Palacios (Honduras)
27 mins - Paul Pogba (France)
45 mins - Yohan Cabaye (France)
52 mins - Boniek Garcia (Honduras)
82 mins - Luis Garrido (Honduras)
The Road to Rio
Thursday, 12th June
Brazil vs Croatia
World Cup Finals
Uruguay trailed Argentina at half-time (1:2) but replied with three goals in the second half; to win the first ever World Cup Final (4-2) on July 30th, 1930.
Italy were one of the countries who missed out on the vote to host the first World Cup but managed to win the prestigious golden trophy for the home fans.
The third World Cup was held in Europe for a second time, although Germany had annexed Austria, and Spain was in civil turmoil.
Although no cup-final as such, Uruguay and Brazil went into their final game with the winner guaranteed to be champions; a draw would be enough for Brazil.
The fifth World Cup tournament produced a record number of goals, including a 7:5 encounter between Austria and Switzerland in Lausanne.
Brazil presented a 17 year-old Pele to the world; who went on to claim a hat-trick in Brazil's 5:2 semi-final win over France and bag another two in the final.
Czechoslovakia overcame Hungary in the quarter-finals and Yugoslavia in the semis, while Brazil took care of England and the host nation, Chile.
Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick, in the final against West Germany, as England triumphed in a thrilling game watched by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
1970 belonged to Pelé, who earned his third World Cup winners' medal when Brazil got their hands on the Jules Rimet Cup.... for keeps.
W. Germany 1974:
Johan Cruyff was the player of the tournament as total football became the buzzword of the day, even though Holland lost to West Germany in the 1974 final.
Holland contested the 1978 World Cup Final, in Argentina, for the second time in a row. As in West Germany, they again finished runners-up; to the hosts.
The Spain 82 World Cup finals increased to 24 teams and the format was changed to have two group stages, with four second-round groups of three.
In 1986, Mexico became the first nation to stage the World Cup Finals for a second time; having only staged the competition sixteen years previously.
In 1990, Italy became the World Cup of stalemates. Both semi-finals were drawn out through penalty kicks. In the final itself, the only goal came from the spot.
Once Team US had played a few games most of the nation began to understand they were hosting the greatest show on earth and how the game was played.
France became the sixth nation to win the World Cup on home soil. Thirty-two teams competed in the 16th World Cup; better known as France 98.
The 17th World Cup, held in Korea and Japan, was the first World Cup finals to be shared by two hosts and the first to be held in Asia.
The 2006 World Cup Finals ran from 9th June to 9th July; the opening match in Munich and the final in Berlin. Munich and Dortmund hosted the semi-finals.
South Africa 2010:
Eighty years after the First World Cup Finals in Uruguay, the world's most prestigious football competition was finally hosted on the African continent.
Five times World Cup Champions, Brazil, get a second chance to hold the prestigious World Cup Finals; 64 years after they last hosted the tournament.
VAR made its World Cup debut and set out to change the course of a game with some crucial rule infringement watching and vital on the spot decisions.
When FIFA executives met in Zurich to decide on who would host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals, Qatar was probably the biggest surprise to many.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup Finals will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States. The United Bid won the hosting rights ahead of Morocco.
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