The World Cup is fast approaching, and we take a look at Group E which consists of Switzerland, Ecuador, France and Honduras.
Switzerland have never been world beaters, but since the successful managerial stint of current England manager Roy Hodgson back in the 90s, they have been featuring in the major tournaments on a more regular basis. The tournaments until the 2006 World Cup were nothing to write home about, but since 2006, they have been somewhat of a force, reaching the knockout stages more regularly. This time too, given the relatively easy nature of the group, they would be expected to finish at least 2nd, if not on top. But expecting them to go beyond the first knockout round would be asking too much.
Ecuador are an unfancied team in the Group, and along with Honduras, would be expected to lie down and let the European teams take 3 points off them. But being a South American country, they probably will put up a fight. They have only qualified 3 times to the World Cup finals, and they have all be in the past decade. They did reach the Round of 16 in 2006, but it would indeed be a fantastic result if they can manage it again.
France are the divas of the group. Never have they been shy of talent, but they have always flattered to deceive. The disintegration of the 2002 World Cup and the fracas at South Africa 2010 are stark reminders of how badly a campaign can go despite being studded with World Class stars. So, it will not be so much a case of if they can do well in this tournament; rather, it will be a case of whether they “want” to do well in the tournament. And that is a question no expert can answer, barring the players and coaching staff themselves.
Honduras will be the other team in the group that the big boys will be looking to take points off. Until now, they have only appeared twice on the world stage, and won’t be expected to do any miracles. While they may be the whipping boys of the group, it will be a grave mistake to underestimate them, especially considering the Qualification campaign they had that included an 8-1 thrashing of Canada and a memorable win over Mexico.
Matches to look forward to
Switzerland vs France
There is really only one match that can come close to not being a one-sided game, and that would be the one between the two teams that are expected to qualify from the group. It will be a match that essentially decides who will finish top of the group, this of course assuming that the other results have gone as is expected. But knowing Switzerland, this would probably be another snooze fest of a draw.
Honduras vs Ecuador
This will perhaps be another evenly contested match, considering both teams will be hoping to score some points off each other, to try and create an upset. And with the match scheduled to take place bang in the middle of the group proceedings, it could well have a bearing on the final standings of the group.
Players to watch out for
Franck Ribery – He is without a doubt the go to guy for France to create chances and to convert them. While there is Oliver Giroud for the knockdowns, with Ribery in the side, he will more likely cut in and take some shots on goal himself.
Xherdan Shaqiri – In what is a very young side selected by Ottmar Hitzfeld, Shaqiri is the star of the team, and will be another player who will be operating on the wings. A left footed player, he is fast with or without the ball, and is sure to be a handful for the opposition defenders.
France – 7
Switzerland – 5
Ecuador – 2
Read about the other groups here!