Messi Scores, France Rampant- 15/06/14

There were three matches today, with the nations in Group E starting their bids for glory, including 1998 World Cup champions France against Honduras. The day also saw Argentina in action, featuring their global superstar Lionel Messi, against debutants Bosnia & Herzegovina. Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador A last minute winner in stoppage time for Switzerland was one of the few dramatic moments in an otherwise low-quality encounter. Enner Valencia had headed Ecuador into the lead midway through the first half from a free-kick, before Switzerland responded just after half time with Admir Mehmedi heading in from a corner; it could be argued that both goals were helped by poor defending and bad marking. Switzerland were run ragged by Ecuador in the first half, and the substitutions made at half-time seemed to pay amends. The second half was much more open that the first and both teams had their chances, but failed to take them. In the final minute of stoppage time however, a great tackle in the penalty area by Swiss player Valon Behrami led to a swift counter attack that ended when Ricardo Rodriguez put in a cross that Haris Seferovic put into the back of the net to the delight of Swiss fans, players and coaching staff. The three points gained from this match by Switzerland will be crucial in a relatively open group. France 3-0 Honduras The debut appearance of goal-line technology assisted France to a comfortable victory over a poor Honduras side. The first incident of note came when Paul Pogba lashed out in reaction to Wilson Palacios appearing to deliberately stamp on him, but the referee only showed yellow to both. The rest of the first half progressed with France unable to take their chances, whilst Honduras were restricted to the odd shot. The game changed completely at the end of the first half when Palacios took out Pogba again in the penalty area, resulting in a penalty for France and an early bath for the Stoke City player. Karim Benzema converted the penalty to give France the lead, and a mountain to climb for Honduras. The goal-line technology gave the second goal for France after the keeper spilled the ball, which trickled over the line. But it still managed to cause confusion when it reviewed the original shot from Benzema which bounced off the post and into the keeper as being “no goal”, before rectifying itself by showing the own goal as over the line. From this moment France were comfortable, and got a third goal from Benzema, who had been brilliant all match, with his shot going in from a tight angle. Honduras on the other hand struggled and didn’t achieve much in the second half apart from several bookings for bad fouls. But this was France’s day, and this win will surely help them to move on from their nightmare 2010 tournament. Argentina 2-1 Bosnia & Herzegovina Prior to this match, all of the focus was on Lionel Messi, and whether he could rise to the occasion against a Bosnia side that were in their debut World Cup finals. The first goal of the game came right at the start when, in the third minute, Messi’s free kick was put into his own net by Sead Kolasinac. However, despite being in the lead, Argentina looked sluggish in possession and even Messi was struggling to make any real impact. They had Sergio Romero to thank for keeping them in the end, with the keeper making several important saves throughout the first half. At the start of the second half Argentina made a couple of substitutions, and they paid dividends when Messi, who was becoming more influential as the match progressed, played a one two with substitute Gonzalo Higuain and dribbled past a couple of challenges before placing the ball in the back of the net. There were a few nervy moments at the end when Vedad Ibisevic scored with a few minutes left, but Argentina held on, and their 2014 World Cup campaign, which many have tipped to go all the way to the final, had hit the ground running.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.