3 Thoughts from France 3-0 Honduras

1. Honduras were ultimately made to pay for their overt physicality:

Coming into the World Cup Honduras were expected to be one of the more aggressive sides. Competing in their second consecutive World Cup is a fantastic achievement for the tournament's 6th smallest country but they'll always lack the individual quality of their opponents at this stage. As a result they look to compete by defending in deep banks of four and getting stuck in to their opponents. England complained about Honduras's aggression after the two sides met in a friendly in Miami early this month and the Central American side put in a similarly combative performance today. They should be proud of a spirited first 45 minutes but they were consistently playing on the edge of what is legal. They conceded two early free kicks in the opening 15 minutes down the right channel, one that forced a fine save off the crossbar from Noel Valladares off a close range shot from Blaise Matuidi. Wilson Palacios was fortunate to escape with a yellow card after stomping on Paul Pogba- who reacted petulantly by kicking out at Palacios and was probably fortunate to escape a red card of his own. Palacios would be given his marching orders before the end of the half however after foolishly running through the back of Pogba in the penalty area. The referee had no choice but to brandish a second yellow and from their it was an impossible task for the Hondurans. Karim Benzema converted the resulting penalty and France were comfortable for the remainder.

2. Win should provide confidence boost for France side known for its volatility:

After France's humiliating exit at the 2010 World Cup when players refused to train in protest of Nicolas Anelka's expulsion from the side, it was important France got off to a strong start in Brazil to restore some confidence in the national side. Manager Didier Deschamps placed great importance on creating a harmonious environment, leaving the talented but divisive Samir Nasri out of the side altogether. Aside from the injured Franck Ribery, Deschamps started the same side that defeated Ukraine 3-2 in Paris in a playoff to get to Brazil. Although they struggled in the opening half to break down a well organized Honduras side, they looked a cohesive enough unit. There's enough talent in the side to give any team in the tournament troubles if they play well. They would have expected to beat Honduras but nonetheless the ease with which they strolled to the three points should give them important belief moving forward.

3. Benzema's contribution key to France success:

France won the 1998 World Cup despite starting the quarter final, semi final and final with a lone center forward that didn't register a goal throughout the tournament- Stephane Guivarc'h. That tournament was played on home soil and the side was littered with attacking talent elsewhere on the pitch that could provide goals. Although Paul Pogba, Mathieu Valbuena and Antoine Griezmann all offer a genuine goal threat, it's difficult to imagine this French side making a deep run into the tournament without strong performances from their #9 Karim Benzema (he actually wears the #10). Benzema is coming off a good season at Real Madrid where he scored 26 goals and provided 13 assists in all competitions and won the Copa del Rey and Champions League. His performance today suggests a player in form. He scored twice and created a third with a header that hit the post before deflecting in off the Honduras goalkeeper, narrowly missing out on becoming just the second French player to score a World Cup hat trick after Just Fontaine.