After a crushingly disappointing performance in the 2010 World Cup, the France national football team made a strong debut at this year's tournament in Brazil. The team's first match, a bout with group stage opponents Honduras, saw the blue and white of France 2014 FIFA World Cup Home Soccer Jerseythe France home kit looking stronger and bolder than it has in years, with the French team besting Honduras in a runaway 3-0 victory. The win puts France at the top of Group E, which also includes Switzerland and Ecuador.

Going into the Sunday match between France and Honduras, no one knew quite how the players in the France football shirt would acquit themselves. After all, four years ago in South Africa, France was eliminated from the World Cup without a single win, losing group stage matches against Mexico and South Africa, and drawing one with Uruguay to finish at the bottom of Group A. This year, ranked by FIFA at 17 prior to the World Cup, France was arguably one of the event's biggest wildcards.

A Dirty Match

However, if France's performance against Honduras offers any indication, then the French team might be ready to trade its wildcard status for a frontrunner position. Of course, some will say France's win and impressive score had more to do with dirty play from the Honduras side than it did with expert performance from the French. Honduras racked up four yellow cards and one red card over the course of the match, three of which went to defensive midfielder, Wilson Palacios. France was only slightly cleaner in its play, however, earning three yellow cards of its own.

The big story of the match was a pair of confrontations that took place between Palacios and France midfielder Paul Pogba. At 26 minutes in, Palacios came storming up on Pogba, colliding with the French player, stealing the ball, and sending Pogba sprawling to the ground in his France home kit. Perhaps in retribution, Pogba flailed his legs wildly after falling, kicking out at Palacios' left leg and sending the Honduran player tumbling to the ground as well. Both players earned yellow cards for the interchange.

Some 17 minutes later, Palacios sought revenge for Pogba's revenge, bumping into Pogba from behind as the French midfielder was receiving a pass right in front of the Honduras goal. Pogba again fell to the ground, a look of shock and anger on his face, and Palacios was shown his second yellow card and his first red card of the match.

The red card ended Palacios' playtime for the match, and also earned a penalty kick for the French. Striker Karim Benzema converted the penalty kick into a goal for France, and after that, the players in the blue and white of the France football shirt simply couldn't be stopped.

Second Half Play 

Benzema's penalty goal put France ahead right before the match went to halftime, and evidently, the goal along with Palacios' ejection from the match went to the heads of the Honduras team members during the break.

Just minutes after play resumed Benzema kicked a left-footed strike at the Honduran goal that ricocheted narrowly off the right post. The ball bounced off Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares and ended up going just past the goal line before he could save it, giving France a second point. Instead of counting as Benzema's second goal, though, the point was considered an own goal for Valladares, adding insult to injury for the quickly deteriorating Honduras team.

While the own goal might have helped sap what little competitive spirit remained for Honduras, though, fans of the French team and the France football shirt were likely still disappointed, as it denied Benzema a chance at a hat trick. At 72 minutes, Benzema netted another goal, kicking the ball out of Valladares' reach and into the top left corner. When play expired 18 minutes later, Benzema was rightfully named the man of the match, with his goals clearly carrying France to its first group stage win since 2006.

Undoubtedly, Benzema is a player to watch throughout this year's tournament. French fans had been wondering who, if anyone, would be the team's star this summer after the late injury-related withdrawal of Franck Ribery. It looks as if they've found their answer.

Interested in supporting Benzema and the rest of the France national team as they battle through the group stage and beyond? Head to Soccer Box today and order a France home kit.