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Sports

France cheers Benzema, Honduras slams Palacios after 3-0 Bleus victory

media France's Karim Benzema takes a penalty and scores a goal during his match against Honduras Reuters/Murad Sezer

5 things we learned from Day 4 in Brazil.

  • If you’re the underdogs, don’t play like animals. It could have so easily been plucky Honduras. But then their combative midfielder Wilson Palacios barged into France’s Paul Pogba in the penalty area. It was a double whammy for Palacios. He gave away a spot kick just before half-time and it was his second bookable offence. Bet he’s popular in the dressing room. 1-0 down playing with 10 men for another 45 minutes was always going to be about damage limitation. So presumably 3-0 to France was a good result.
  • Goal line technology. Now, there that wasn’t so awful. Karim Benzema hit a shot mid way through the second half in the game against Honduras which beat goalkeeper Noel Valladares but rather than going in, it trickled along the goal line. A startled Valladares then pounced on the ball but sent it over the line before scooping it back into this arms. Benzema turned claiming goal – probably for his first effort as Valladares tried to play on as if nothing untoward had happened. But gone are those days. Goal line technology bleeped and it was 2-0 to France. Oh, if only, if only, it could have happened earlier. But it didn’t. So we just have to be content now that it’s here and actually underlining FIFA’s desire to promulgate the myriad joys of fair play.
Click here for our coverage of Brazil World Cup 2014
  • Stephen Keshi has decided to have a good time. It’s his first World Cup campaign as a head coach but Nigeria’s Stephen Keshi is hanging like a veteran. He rolled into his press conference before his side’s game against Iran with a baseball cap reversed, smiling and telling it like it is. There weren’t really any variations on the theme of “no easy games at this level” and “one game at a time”. But it was the way he did it. He upbraided journalists who asked impertinent questions. Hope his team can come up with an equally bravura performance against Iran.
  • Carlos Queiroz and José Mourinho are cut from the same stone. Linguistically speaking, of course. The daily review listened to Carlos and it was like hearing José. We don’t know who intoned first. Presumably we have to lean towards Carlos since he’s 61 while the Special’s 51 and age must be venerated. The use of repetition, same deadpan gravelly delivery was remarkable. Only difference is their list of honours. Mourinho’s on a higher pitch there.
  • The world cup scamometer is officially launched. The catering inside the media centre in Curitiba is not at all bad but not so good that the daily review wouldn’t want to take a few things in for comfort as it strives to bring its serried ranks of readers an unrivalled service. But no, food and drinks are not allowed inside the stadium compound. Had to leave a few sweeties outside with the security staff. This is the bit we love; once inside the stadium the prices bear no relation to the world outside the arena. This gets an 8 on the scamometer. We really feel it should be 10 but we’re saving our froth and foam. We’re only four days in after all. The 9 billion euros and no TV sets at Brasilia airport – as highlighted on match day three – will be given a mark once we’ve recovered from the paradox.
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