Some teams at this World Cup could afford a sluggish start. Not France, which felt compelled to purge ASAP any traces of a hellish 2010 tournament.
Aided by a dunderheaded midfielder, the French overwhelmed Honduras, 3-0, and already have collected more points (three) than they did at a winless, joyless Cup four years ago (one).
That gig was poisoned by a players' insurrection after one of them was sent home over a dispute with the coach. A practice was boycotted. The captain was stripped of his duties and benched.
Out of that wreckage emerged a roster based heavily on players' character. The French predictably came out gangbusters Sunday but had not been scratched until Wilson Palacios took Honduras out of contention with a double-whammy soccer sin near halftime.
He inexplicably banged into the back of midfielder Paul Pogba in the penalty rectangle, minutes after drawing a yellow card outside the box for tripping and stepping on the Frenchmen. The second yellow meant ejection. So, in one fell swoop, Palacios put his team down a goal with the ensuing penalty kick and down a man for the entire second half.
Two more scores, one that was verified by the first application of the new goal-line technology, were icing on the eclair.
These being the French, controversy cannot be avoided. Their coach, Didier Deschamps, says he believes the operators of an apparent drone that flew over a recent practice had the nefarious intention of spying on the team. (Seriously?)
And injured winger Franck Ribery sat out against Honduras, according to the team doctor, partly because a fear of needles deterred him from taking a cortisone shot. (Ribery cites another reason.)
Those are brushfires compared to the inferno of 2010. The French needed a win in the worst way. They got one, with minimal stress.