Messi ends WC goal drought; French, Swiss win too

June 15, 2014
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014.     (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his side’s second goal during the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 15, 2014. (AP)

Argentina 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador
France 3-0 Honduras

Lionel Messi scored a superb second-half goal as Argentina began their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Bosnia- Bosnia-Herzegovina in their Group F opener.

Karim Benzema scored twice as France cruised to a 3-0 win over 10-man Honduras, a game that featured the first decisive use of goal-line technology at the World Cup.

In other Group E action, Switzerland substitute Haris Seferovic snatched a dramatic winner in stoppage time to allow his team to escape as 2-1 winners over Ecuador.

While Messi has cemented his reputation as the world’s best footballer in past years playing brilliantly for Barcelona, he has yet to leverage his club success to World Cup play. It remains to be seen whether his impressive display against Bosnia- Bosnia-Herzegovina will prove as the breakthrough performance he has needed.

Argentina, picked by some pundits to win it all, went ahead when Messi’s free-kick was put into his own net by Bosnia- Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Sead Kolasinac.

Messi ended his World Cup goal drought in dramatic fashion in the 65th minute, playing a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain, slaloming past two defenders to cut inside and drilling a low left-footer inside the post of Bosnia- Bosnia-Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. It was Messi’s first World Cup goal since his score against Germany in the 2006 tournament.

Bosnia- Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Vedad Ibisevic scored from close range in the 85th minute, but it proved to be too little, too late.

France bullied their way to a win over Honduras in their Group E opener. Les Blues also became the first team ever to benefit from goal-line technology at the World Cup in the process.

The moment came in the 48th minute for France’s second goal. Benzema’s shot hit the far post and rebounded to Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares who seemed to fumble the ball into the goal. The seven video cameras installed on the goal established that the ball had briefly crossed the line by a few inches and alerted the referee on his watch with a flashing “goal” signal.

Benzema added another goal in the 74th minute to make it 3-0. Honduras never had a chance in the game after Wilson Palacios was sent off from the game in the 43rd minute following his second yellow card.

After struggling mightily against Ecuador for 90 minutes, Switzerland was lucky to walk off with three points. With the game tied at 1-1 and in the final minutes of stoppage time, Seferovic finished a late-counter attack by converting Ricardo Rodriguez’s low cross at the near post and make it 2-1.

After wild Swiss celebrations, Ecuador’s shell-shocked players barely had time to restart before the final whistle was blown.