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WORLD CUP 2014 GROUP E BETTING PREVIEWAmong the World Champions, FRANCE was the most troubled after a disastrous campaign in South Africa: eliminated in the group stages. Their inconsistency remained throughout qualifying, as they had to overcome a 2-0 1st leg deficit in the play-offs, beating Ukraine with an impressive 3-0 home win– becoming the first European side ever to overturn a two-goal margin in the play-offs. Les Bleus have impressed since booking their spot in Brazil with a March win over the Netherlands a notable one. The French have a good midfield but Ribery will not take part to the World Cup due to an injury. Paul Pogba is the rising star while Benzema and Giroud will have the task to score goals.
SWITZERLAND qualified for Brazil 2014 automatically after topping their group without losing a single game. They are defensively solid – keeping a record nine clean sheets in 12 matches – which included a 1-0 win over hosts Brazil in August 2013. The Swiss team conceded just 6 goals in qualifying, with 4 of those coming in a barmy 4-4 draw with Iceland.Despite that result, low scoring matches are the forte of the Swiss and if they can play low-scoring matches and find ways to score off the counter-attack they may surprise some teams. Ottmar Hitzfeld is the man responsible for the success the country has been enjoying for years, including cultivating young talents like Granit Xhaka, Haris Seferovic, and Gokhan Inler. Anyway, the strikers selected by the German coach (Mario Gavranovic, Admir Mehmedi and Josip Drmic) are all inexperienced at international level despite standout performance in their clubs.
ECUADOR's failure to record a single win in eight qualifiers outside of Quito underlines their vulnerability when they play far from the high altitude at home. Though their defensive stats were impressive, La Tri struggled to find the net in the qualifying campaign, scoring less goals than the other qualifiers. Anyway, they recorded a good 2:2 draw against England few days ago in an International Friendly in Miami. They actually played a friendly against group-mate Honduras back in November that finished in a 2-2 draw with one red card for each team. A lot will be expected of captain, Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, by far the highest profile player in the squad while former Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo, who didn't play against England, will shoulder much of the attacking threat after netting 7 times in qualifying.
HONDURAS is not only the Group E long shot, but overall they have the 2nd worst betting odds to win the World Cup despite they enjoyed a good campaign in the Concacaf qualifiers.They finished 3rd behind Team USA and Costa Rica and 4 points clear of Mexico. Honduras lack of world-class talents, kept just two clean sheets in 10 qualifying games but managed to draw 0:0 against England in Miami as well as as Ecuador in a World Cup warm-up game. With notable names including Stoke City midfielder Wilson Palacios and 2013 English FA Cup winners Wigan's Espinoza in squad, Colombian coach Luis Fernando Suarez hopes his team can win at least a game. Anyway, a recent 4-2 thrashing at the hands of Israel suggests that the Hondurans could be outclassed by all the group rivals
WORLD CUP 2014 GROUP E FIXTURES
- 15–06–2014 SWITZERLAND – ECUADOR (Estádio Nacional, Brasilia)
- 15–06–2014 FRANCE – HONDURAS (Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre)
- 20–06–2014 SWITZERLAND – FRANCE (Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador)
- 20–06–2014 HONDURAS – ECUADOR (Arena da Baixada, Curitiba)
- 25–06–2014 HONDURAS – SWITZERLAND (Arena Amazônia, Manaus)
- 25–06–2014 ECUADOR – FRANCE (Maracana, Rio de Janeiro)
WORLD CUP 2014 GROUP E ODDS
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