Group E features Ecuador, France, Honduras, and Switzerland and plenty of unknowns. This is yet another group that is up for grabs, especially now that France will be without Ribery.
Ecuador is one of those unknowns coming into the World Cup. They have a good mix of players and are a team that can do well, especially with their ability to counter attack quickly. Some of their key players include midfielder Christian Noboa of Dinamo Moscow, winger Antonio Valencia of Manchester United, and forward Enner Valencia. They could surprise quite a few people and provide a shock or two.
The loss of Franck Ribery is a major blow for Les Bleus. Still, they are full of world class players and without Ribery will need to rely even more on playing as a team. This could be the chance for someone like Paul Pogba or Remy Cabella to step up and stake their claim. France will need to be sure they do not become complacent, especially in this group. France is at 25/1 to go on and win the World Cup.
This will be Honduras’ third World Cup, having previously qualified in 1982 and 2010. Though, they have yet to win a World Cup match, this could be their chance to do so. They are the sort of team that should not be underestimated.
This Swiss team has quite a few excellent players, many of which are untested in the World Cup, but all of whom could surprise everyone. They have the fourth youngest team in the competition with an average age of 25.6. Some of the players to keep an eye on include fullback Ricardo Rodriguez, midfielders Gokhan Inler, Admir Mehmedi, and Xherdan Shaqiri. This team has some excellent attacking options, but also has a few question marks in defense.
France – winner
Ecuador – runner-up
Switzerland – third place
Honduras – fourth
While I am picking France and Ecuador to advance, Switzerland could be a surprise in this World Cup and take either the top or runner-up spot if results go their way. At the same time, they could just as easily finish last, especially when the weather of venues is taken into consideration. Ecuador could just as easily finish top of this group and Honduras could provide a shock win or draw along the way to really shake things up.
Head over to the 2014 World Cup section to get the following:
Also, be sure to keep checking back for my weekly predictionsthroughout the tournament.