France leaves out Giroud for opener v Honduras

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PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) - French coach Didier Deschamps has picked winger Antoine Griezmann in place of Olivier Giroud to face Honduras Sunday in his team’s opening World Cup match.

Giroud had been tipped to start as a central striker after some impressive recent performances, but Deschamps picked Karim Benzema in that role and put Griezmann wide on the left.

Griezmann has impressed since breaking into the team in March, scoring three goals in just four matches.

The rest of the France team is as expected with a settled midfield of Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi.

Mamadou Sakho and Raphael Varane form an inexperienced center-half pairing, with Mathieu Debuchy and Patrice Evra at left back. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris captains the side.

Honduras coach Luis Suarez tasked midfielder Wilson Palacios with breaking up France’s attacks, while Maynor Figueroa wins his 10th cap in defense. Carlo Costly, who has 31 international goals, is paired in attack with Jerry Bengston.

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Lineups:

France: Hugo Lloris, Mathieu Debuchy, Mamadou Sakho, Raphael Varane, Patrice Evra, Yohan Cabaye, Paul Pogba, , Blaise Matuidi, Mathieu Valbuena, Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann.

Honduras: Noel Valladares, Brayan Beckeles, Maynor Figueroa, Andy Najar, Victor Bernardez, Emilio Izaguirre, Luis Garrido, Luis Garrido, Carlo Costly, Roger Espinoza, Jerry Bengston.

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