World Cup Preview: Group E
As we continue with our World Cup Preview, we get to a group with two European squads that reached this point in completely opposite ways. Surprisingly it is the team that struggled more to qualify that many believe to be the favorite to win the group. The also has a CONCACAF team that made some pretty serious waves during qualifying-- like defeating Mexico at Estadio Azteca-- and a South American team that is accustomed to playing in extremely high altitudes.
Let's get on with the breakdown:
Ecuador- Ecuador comes in with Walter Ayovi and Antonia Valencia leading the way. They usually play their home games in the highest altitude of any other country, but they won't necessarily have the same luxury of altitude when they play in Brazil. While they did qualify out of the fairly tough CONMEBOL confederation, Ecuador looks like possibly the weakest team in this draw. They will likely struggle in each of their games and might seem pretty accomplished if they come away with at least one tie.
France- The French did push Spain to the brink during qualifying, but still had to survive a home and home playoff against Ukraine to make it to the field of 32. Even with that fact, France comes in as the heads on favorite to win the group. They are loaded with Franck Ribery, Patrice Evra, and Karim Benzema. France is looking to contend to be the first European team to win it all, but have their own history of underwhelming far away from home-- they won it all at home in 1998 and lost in the final in Germany 2006, but failed to get out of group play in Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010.
Switzerland- The Swiss eased their way through qualifying, winning their group by seven points. They bring in Granit Hxaka, Xherdan Shaquiri, and Valon Behrami to challenge for the group win. If there is a team with a realistic chance to challenge the French for the group, it is the Swiss.
Honduras- Talk about a team that made some surprising noise during qualifying. Honduras not only made a realistic run toward winning CONCACAF qualifying, but defeated Mexico 2-1 in Estadio Azteca-- a place where Mexico has been virtually unbeatable. With the likes of Wilson Palacios and Roger Espinoza, Honduras is looking to keep making noise and possibly getting themselves past the group stage.
Best Match- Switzerland vs France
Predicted Order of Finish:
1. France 7 pts
2. Switzerland 5 pts
3. Honduras 2 pts
4. Ecuador 1 pt