Football WC: Messi, Benzima shine; goal line technology also makes debut

By Chaitan Papnai | Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014, 09:05 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai

New Delhi: A four-time Ballon d`Or-winner, Lionel Messi started off his World Cup 2014 campaign on a superb note on Sunday. Within first five minutes of the game, Messi got a chance to take a free kick against Bosnia & Hezegovania, and it helped Argentina to open their account. Messi’s kick got a deflection by the head of Rojo tangled in between the legs of the very unlucky Kolasinac, who didn`t even realize that the ball went off him inside the goal post.

Though, Messi looked a bit rusty in the beginning of the game, the Barcelona superstar got his mojo back in the second half. In the 65th, minute the diminutive striker scored a trademark individual goal. Messi went on a run, beat two defenders and fired the shot inside the left post. It was his second ever World Cup goal. But he did it in style, that too, in the Rio de Janeiro`s renovated Maracana – a historic stadium. Eventually, Argentina won the game 2-1 against Bosnia & Hezegovania, who are playing in their maiden World Cup.

If Messi spread his magic then France striker Karim Benzima too proved his worth while playing in his first ever FIFA World Cup by bracing two goals as his team beat Honduras 3-0 in lopsided affair. In the 44th minute of the first half, the Real Madrid striker converted a penalty to score the first goal of the match. It was Benzim’s first ever World Cup goal and seventh overall for his country.

In the 71th minute, the Frenchman once again showed what is he capable of and netted his second goal of the match via powerful right-footed shot from the right side, to give his team a 3-0 win over Honduras.

However, in the 47th minute of the game, the goal-line technology, introduced for the first time in the FIFA WC, awarded the first international goal in its history. A volley from Karim Benzema forced the manufactured Goal Control system to take the centrestage. The ball bounced back into the area before hitting Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares. He then tried to scoop the ball to safety, but Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci awarded the goal -- classed as an own-goal -- after consulting the instant technology. The goal helped France to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Whereas, in the first match of the day, Haris Seferovic scored in the last minute of injury time to give Switzerland a dramatic 2-1 win over Ecuador in their Group E game.