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Muma starts, but doesn't finish, Honduras World Cup opener.

San Jose Earthquakes central defender Victor 'Muma' Bernardez was in the starting XI for Honduras in their opening game against Les Bleus of France.

Victor Bernardez - starting center back for Los Catrachos
Victor Bernardez - starting center back for Los Catrachos
Scott Halleran

A lively crowd cheered and whistled enthusiastically for the first ever match up between France and Honduras, as the two teams kicked of at Noon PDT, on the pitch in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre. Earthquakes fans were keen to see how their Honduran central defender Victor 'Muma' Bernardez, and his team, nicknamed Los Catrachos, would fare against Les Bleus of France.

France, who haven't won a World Cup opener since 1998, were the first to  get the measure of their opponents. The French had the vast majority of possession in the first half, and several dead ball plays around the 15 minute mark - one shot by Blaise Matuidi for France, required the fingertips of Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares to guide the ball's path onto the crossbar rather than into the net.

The Hondurans continued on the defensive, when in the 17th minute Bernardez went down with an apparent left ankle injury. Everything looked okay: a touch of 'magic spray' and the threat of the approaching stretcher bearers, saw him back on his feet, and gingerly jogging back into position.

It was still all France when Griezmann hit the crossbar again in 23rd minute, and Honduran frustration began when Stoke City's Wilson Palacios tangled legs with Paul Pogba, who lashed out in retaliation - Brazilian referee Ricci issued the first cautions to both players.

The one chance at open play for Honduras in the 30th minute was wasted when Maynor Figueroa inexplicably skied the ball (still in orbit), though he did redeem himself minutes later with a smart deflection to safety.  Bernardez went down for a second time after he fell awkwardly saving a point blank shot - France continued to play on rather than sportingly put the ball out of play.

Victor's workload only increased when team mate Palacios earned his second yellow of the game, when he gave up a penalty for a push in the back of Pogba.  Karim Benzema placed the penalty shot to the left of Valladares - and all was right with the French fans as their frustration vanished just before half time.

With only ten men of the field for the second half, Honduras made the necessary defensive switches, subbing in Osman Chavez and Boniek Garcia for Victor Bernardez and Jerry Bengston.  It usually takes a lot to keep Muma off the field, and the early word on the injury is a seriously injured right calf - with the devastating possibility he may miss the rest of the World Cup

Just three minutes  into the second half, Benzema appeared to score his second goal of the match, but he was denied by the first true test of goal line technology.  Benzema's initial shot was not over the line, but the rebound off the post was shown by Eagle Eye to have a grass blades width over the line.  The goal was not easily corroborated by video, and was correctly credited to the Honduran goalkeeper by Eagle Eye

The 2-0 score line was a cue to slow the game, and for the French players to start falling over a lot.  The game played out with little more of significance to report other than Benzema's  second goal, and France's third, with the final score 3 - 0 to France.  Honduras must regroup for Friday's game against Ecuador, themselves reeling from a 93rd minute winner by Switzerland.

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France 3 - 0 Honduras (Karim Benzema, P 45'; Noel Valladares, OG 48'; Karim Benzema, 72').

Yellow Cards - France: Patrice Evra, 7th; Paul Pogba, 28th; Yohan Cabaye, 45th; Honduras, Wilson Palacios, 28th; Boniek Garcia, 53rd; Luis Garrido, 83rd.

Red Card: Honduras, Wilson Palacios, 43rd.

Referee:Sandro Ricci, Brazil; Linesmen: Emerson De Carvalho, Brazil; Marcelo Van Gasse, Brazil.

Attendance: 43,012.


France: Hugo Lloris; Mathieu Debuchy, Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho, Patrice Evra; Paul Pogba (Moussa Sissoko, 57th), Yohan Cabaye (Rio Mavuba, 65th), Blaise Matuidi, Mathieu Valbuena (Olivier Giroud, 78th); Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann.

Honduras: Noel Valladares; Brayan Beckeles, Victor Bernardez (Osman Chavez, 46th), Maynor Figueroa; Emilio Izaguirre, Andy Najar (Jorge Claros, 58th), Luis Garrido, Wilson Palacios, Roger Espinoza; Jerry Bengtson (Boniek Garcia, 46th), Carlo Costly.