France past their first test in this World Cup, beating Honduras 3-0 in a match that was billed as a physical encounter and boy wasn’t it just.
Hugo Lloris- 7
A self-assured performance from the captain, who dealt with the few dangerous moments well and with poise. Having said that, his contribution was minimal because the creativity and attacking threat from Honduras was virtually non-existent.
Patrice Evra- 7.5
Manchester United’s full-back played well in a match which was perfectly set up for him. There was very little defending that he was forced to do, with Najar being nullified by Matuidi, but Evra’s crosses and understanding with Griezmann was both on point and joyous to watch.
Mamadou Sakho- 6
France’s vice captain was slightly shaky and Les Bleus’ obvious point of weakness this evening in the back four. Struggled to deal with some simple defensive situations and was outmanoeuvred by Bengtson early on during the encounter.
Raphael Varane- 6.5
The effortlessness of this man’s defensive work considering his tender age is something so unique and special that Les Bleus will treasure and reap rewards from in years to come. Not quite at his best yet, but is slowly getting there. Will be in fine form when France’s World Cup reaches its climax in the knockout stages.
Mathieu Debuchy- 6.5
The majority of the admittedly limited attacking play that Honduras showed came from down their left hand side, and Debuchy was scrambling back at times to deal with Espinoza. His attacking contribution was positive, and he got in the right positions, but nothing seemed to come altogether at the same time for the Newcastle man tonight.
Yohan Cabaye- 7.5
Instrumental in France’s penalty with a delightful initial ball through and played a fantastic cross for Benzema for Les Bleus’ goal-technology awarded second. Deschamps has shown tactical intelligence in playing the PSG man in this deep-lying role where he is currently thriving.
Paul Pogba- 5.5
The man that nearly turned this into a sour first night in Brazil for France. Lucky not to have been sent off after allowing Palacios to win the mind games with him but the referee thankfully decided to book the pair only. Did not contribute to the same extent going forward as one has become used to when Pogba wears the French colours and was taken off early in the second half.
Blaise Matuidi- 6
One can always be sure that Matuidi will give his all, but the PSG man must be disappointed not have scored at least once after squandering two fantastic chances to put Les Bleus ahead and then even further ahead. His defensive contribution was subtle but majorly significant and resulted in Evra and Sakho not having to do much work at all down that left hand side.
Antoine Griezmann- 6.5
The occasion seemed to get the better of Griezmann in the opening stages of the match. He was often caught in possession and his passing accuracy was not what we have come to expect from the rapidly talented Frenchman. He did show his class and produced some moments brilliance including a fantastic cross field ball for Valbuena in the first half.
Karim Benzema- 8
Nearly a hat-trick for the man in scorching form for France. Super-motivated and can become the talisman that every successful World Cup side needs. The improvisation for France’s second goal which saw the Honduran goalkeeper turn the ball into the back of his own net was a piece of brilliance which Benzema seems to be producing in bucket loads at present.
Mathieu Valbuena- 7.5
Always a key player and the fact that he is the only man to have played in every single one of France’s matches under Deschamps shows the bond between the two individuals. Took a battering from some brutal challenges, especially from Figueroa in the second half, but remains France’s emblematic attacking engine.
Moussa Sissoko- 6
Had almost a whole half of football to impress and did little to convince Deschamps that he deserves to start in the first place. Played his part in the build-up to attacking moves, but did not stand out. A chance wasted for Sissoko.
Rio Mavuba- 6
A substitute that I expect to see every match this World Cup, Mavuba was brought on to sure up the midfield to shut up shop. Did that job well, and Honduras were unable to break to the same extent towards the end of the second half.
Olivier Giroud- 6
Was not on the pitch long enough to make a significant impact.