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France open World Cup campaign with victory


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France open World Cup campaign with victory

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema scored a brace of goals to hand France a convincing 3-0 win over 10-man Honduras in Porto Alegre on Sunday.

Didier Deschamps’ men dominated their opponents from the outset, showing their fans they are determined to erase the painful memories of South Africa four years ago.

In group E’s other game, Switzerland needed a late strike from substitute Haris Seferovic to edge out Ecuador 2-1 in Brasilia.

Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side conceded an early goal before stepping it up a gear in the second half with Admir Mehmedi and Seferovic on target to seal an unlikely three points for the European side.

This win sees Les Bleus top group E thanks to a better goal difference over nearest rivals Switzerland.

Argentina outclass Bosnia-Herzegovina

Two-time World Cup winners Argentina produced a solid display to down Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 in Rio de Janeiro.

Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac scored an own goal in the third minute with Lionel Messi doubling his side’s advantage after the restart.

Vedad Ibisevic reduced the deficit with five minutes to go but it was too little too late as Argentina eventually held on to earn all three points.

No room for error

Iran and Nigeria will be bidding for a first win in a World Cup match since France 1998 when they face off in Curitiba on Monday.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz, who has a wealth of managerial experience both at club and international level, is leading arguably the competition’s biggest underdogs but is fortunate enough to have no injury concerns ahead of the game.

Germany-based Daniel Davari is expected to start in goal and will have to stay focused throughout the 90 minutes against a side that includes the likes of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses.

Although Nigeria are the current African champions, the Super Eagles have not won at the World Cup since defeating Bulgaria in a group match 16 years ago.

Clash of the titans

Group G’s heavyweights get their respective World Cup campaigns underway on Monday, with Germany locking horns with Portugal in Salvador.

Manuel Neuer and Philip Lahm have both been passed fit while holding midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will also be available after taking a helicopter flight to hospital to treat a foot injury earlier this week.

This is Die Mannschaft’s 100th game in the World Cup finals with former Bayern Munich forward Miroslav Klose one strike away from equalling Ronaldo’s record tally of 15 goals in the competition.

Former Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed he is fit to start, raising a collective sigh of relief in his home country.

The Ballon d’Or will certainly be partnered up-front by Hugo Almeida and Silvestre Varela while Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles should be the key men in midfield.

In group G’s other game, the United States will be hoping to get their campaign off to a winning start when they take on Ghana in Natal.

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