France benefitted from the introduction of goal-line technology in their comfortable win over Honduras, Switzerland earned a dramatic, late win over Ecuador, while Lionel Messi sparkled for Argentina against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Just before half-time, Wilson Palacios received his second yellow of the match after he bundled over Paul Pogba in the box. Karim Benzema stepped up and slammed home the penalty kick.
France doubled their lead three minutes into the second half. Benzema saw his shot clip the woodwork and bounce down off Valladares, who attempted to claw the ball out only for the goal to be awarded by goal-line technology.
Benzema did get his second goal before full-time, though, as he lashed into the roof of the net, sealing three points for France in their opening Group E game.
In the same group, Switzerland substitute Haris Seferovic snatched a dramatic winner with 23 seconds left of added time to inflict a 2-1 loss on Ecuador in Brasilia.
The Real Sociedad striker got on the end of a late counter-attack to convert Ricardo Rodriguez's low cross at the near post and steal the victory.
The chance came from Ecuador's final attack of the game when Michael Arroyo delayed his shot and was dispossessed by Valon Behrami who launched a swift break.
Poor defending had resulted in the first two goals with Enner Valencia heading Ecuador in front in the first half. Admir Mehmedi nodded home a corner just two minutes after his half-time introduction but fellow substitute Seferovic made an even more important contribution with almost the last kick of the game.
Lionel Messi's wonderful goal proved decisive as Argentina claimed a 2-1 win in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup against tournament debutants Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Maracana.
Argentina took the lead inside three minutes when defender Sead Kolasinac diverted Messi's free kick beyond his own goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic.
The rest of the first half, however, failed to live up to the fast start, with Senad Lulic's header that drew a fine save from Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero the only genuine threat of another goal.
After a frustrating hour, Messi turned on the style. The Barcelona man burst forward, played a one-two with substitute Gonzalo Higuain, skipped by his markers and curled home off the foot of the post.
Argentina looked to be set for a comfortable finale only for Vedad Ibisevic's late strike to set up a nervy finish -- but it was too little, too late for Bosnia-Herzegovina.