Goal-line technology was put to its first serious use at the World Cup on Sunday in the 48th minute of France’s match with Honduras. The result was a second goal for France in what would turn into a 3-0 victory.
After years of complaints and controversy, FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, hired the German company GoalControl to provide the first goal-line system in World Cup history this year. Fourteen cameras have been deployed on each field, and Sunday’s goal was the first instance when the new system was decisive. French striker Karim Benzema’s half-volleyed, left-footed shot struck the far post, then rebounded toward Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares along the goal line. It struck him on the left hand and bounced toward the goal, and he then pulled it back.
But the device on the Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci’s wrist — connected with the system— already was buzzing and showing “Goal” on its small screen to indicate that the ball had fully crossed the line. Ricci ruled it a goal, and a replay soon confirmed it, but not before the system generated confusion and anger inside the stadium by first showing a replay of the ball just after it struck the post and indicating “no goal.”
“The concern is that they also showed on the screen the image that does not correspond to the goal,” said Didier Deschamps, the French coach, who said he believed the system should have displayed only the sequence that directly related to the goal.
Thrashing Honduras, one of the weakest sides in this World Cup, was no great feat for France, particularly when the Hondurans had to play with 10 men for the entire second half after midfielder Wilson Palacios was sent off with a second yellow card for a push from behind on Paul Pogba that led to the French penalty kick and opener.
Benzema converted in the 45th minute and scored the third on a powerful right-footed blast from close range in the 72nd minute. He also took the shot in the 48th minute that led to the second goal, which was allowed to stand via the goal line technology.