The 3rd hardest group according to FIFA rankings. 2 European and 2 South American countries in Switzerland, France, Honduras and Ecuador. Top 2 teams to play the top 2 from Group F.
Switzerland. This will be there 10th time at a World Cup final, but Switzerland have never been passed the quarter-finals stage. 5th in the FIFA rankings, they’ve never lived up to that billing. Will be contenders for the most boring team of the tournament.
Star man. Bayern Munich’s 22 year-old left midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri. While he may nit get much game time in the Bundesliga he’s the main creative force for Switzerland. Unexpected hero? Josip Drmic, a 21-year-old forward with FC Nuernberg in Germany. Capped 7 times and scored 3 goals.
France. They’ve stuttered their way through the warm-ups which included a 3-0 loss to the hosts Brazil. Winners in 1998, they not likely to impress. Manager Deschamps has imposed some discipline on the team, but France are not a great unit.
Star man. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema. A 26-year-old striker who has played 66 times for France and scored 21 goals. Unexpected hero? Midfielder Paul Pogba aged 21.
Honduras. Rank outsiders and quite rightly so. Ranked 33rd, they may upset the group by some freak results, the other countries need to take them seriously though.
Star man. Midfielder Wilson Palacios. The 29-year-old Stoke City has played 94 times for Honduras and scored 5 times. Could be their game changer. Unexpected hero?
Ecuador. If they can keep their discipline could be a surprise bundle for Group E. Captain Antonio Valencia proved that against England in a recent friendly that he hasn’t got it. Beat Honduras and draw with France and Switzerland would be their route to the knock-out stages.
Star man. Jefferson Montero. The 24-year-old midfielder has played 40 times for Ecuador contributing 8 goals in that time. The Mexican based player has speed and an agility in getting forward. Unexpected hero? Enner Valencia, aged 24 tends to play out on the left and has scored 4 goals in his 10 game international career.
Prediction. 1st France, 2nd Switzerland, 3rd Ecuador and 4th Honduras.
Group E Fixtures.
|Sunday 15th June||Switzerland v Ecuador||17:00||ITV||Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, Brasília|
|Sunday 15th June||France v Honduras||20:00||BBC 1||Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre|
|Friday 20th June||Switzerland v France||20:00||ITV||Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador|
|Friday 20th June||Honduras v Ecuador||23:00||ITV||Arena da Baixada, Curitiba|
|Wednesday 25th June||Honduras v Switzerland||21:00||BBC 3||Arena da Amazônia, Manaus|
|Wednesday 25th June||Ecuador v France||21:00||BBC 1||Estádio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro|