Sunday’s WC round-up

Sunday’s World Cup action saw France ease to a 3-0 victory in their Group E opener against Honduras, as goal-line technology was used for the first time in the World Cup finals.

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema helped France into the lead on the stroke of half time with a penalty after Paul Pogba had been fouled by Stoke City midfielder Wilson Palacios – who was then sent-off for a second bookable offence.

Goal-line technology was then implemented early in the second half and confirmed Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares had knocked the ball over the line after Benzema’s volley had bounced back off the post.

France striker Karim Benzema is congratulated on his goal by Mamadou Sakho

Karim Benzema is congratulated on his second goal by Mamadou Sakho

Benzema stole the headlines once again late on and added a third goal with a thunderous strike from a tight angle.

The other Group E game earlier in the day saw Switzerland claim a dramatic stoppage-time victory over Ecuador in at the Estadio Nacional in the capital of Brasilia.

Substitute Haris Seferovic fired home a winner from close range in the last of three minutes of additional time to secure a vital win and cap off a remarkable turn around – making it the fifth time in nine matches at this World Cup that a team had come from behind to win.

Ecuador had taken the lead in the 22nd minute through Enner Valencia before fellow Swiss sub Admir Mehmedi equalised at the start of the second half.

Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side are now on target to reach the knockout phase of the competition and are targeting their first quarter-final since 1954.

And Sunday’s final match saw the magic of the Maracana Stadium in Rio awoken, as Argentina beat Bosnia & Herzegovina in Group F with captain Lionel Messi showing a magician’s ability to conjure something out of nothing with a winning goal of the highest quality.

After playing a one-two with Miguel Higuain, Barcelona star Messi set off on a typical darting run past three players before drilling the ball in off the inside of the far post. It was only his second goal in a World Cup finals, eight years after his first, but showed his sheer class after a quiet opening hour. 

He’d helped Argentina get off to a dream start when his free-kick was headed on by Marcos Rojo and the ball flew into the net off the knees of Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac in the third minute.

Bosnia came back strongly and substitute Vedad Ibisevic set up a tense finale with a goal five minutes from time, but Alejandro Sabella’s side hung on to take the three points.