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World Cup Preview: Group E

I preview Group E of the 2014 World Cup. Group E contains France, Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

Alexandre Loureiro

One of the weakest groups, Group E will all be looking to claim that top spot to most likely avoid Argentina.

France- Favourites to win the group, Didier Deschamps side will look to forget about their blunders in South Africa and make this World Cup one to remember. Training fall-outs and a failure to get out of a somewhat easy group in South Africa made it one of the worst French World Cup campaigns in history.  Franc Ribery will be a big miss for the French but the exciting Paul Pogba looks to relish in Rio along with many other stars.

Key Player- Yohan Cabaye, the PSG midfielder will be at the heart of all attacking moves for France this summer. The former Newcastle man has a great ability to pass the ball as well as being deadly from dead ball situations. If he is to shine in the World Cup for Les Bleus then we could be in for another dark horse.

Prediction-2nd-Last 16

Switzerland- Confidence is high in the Swiss camp currently after an unbeaten qualifying campaign. La Nati have risen to 8th in the FIFA Rankings. Ottmar Hitzfield’s passing game has attracted some admirers, their organisation and urgency has silenced the critics of their defensive errors in South Africa with a neat 4-2-3-1 giving Switzerland an equal balance in attack.

Key Player-Xherdan Shaquiri, still a supporting role in Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich but a key man for his country. His playing style is compared to Arjen Robben as he has a tendancy to cut inside onto his left foot and try and get a shot away. He’s at the heart of all things attacking for Ottmar Hitzman’s side and will look to use the World Cup as a chance to impress Pep Guardiola.

Predction- 1st – Quarter Final

Ecuador- Their pacey wingers and adventurous fullbacks offer a nice tactic particularly on the counter attack, but that is about it. A shaky defence and a lacklustre midfield offer nothing for stability or a plan B. On their day Antonio Valencia’s pace and Jefferson Montero’s skill can produce some really nice attacking moves as we saw in Miami in the 2-2 with England. La Tri will have to have the luck on their side if they are to progress.

Key Player- Antonio Valencia, we know what the former Wigan man can offer. His dangerous pace and power will be something Ecuador can use. On his day he is unplayable but on some he just looks like he can’t be bothered. He will have to show the leadership qualities for his country that Sir Alex Ferguson showed at Old Trafford. Can Ecuador go through? Time will tell.

Prediction-3rd

Honduras- The lowest ranked team in the Finals, Honduras have qualified for their second consecutive World Cup which is an achievement in its own right. Coach Luiz Suarez says "It’s time to take the next step" which to claim their first World Cup win. Roger Espinoza and Juan Garcia represent Wigan for Honduras in Brazil who play a part in their compact 4-4-2 which lacks creativity. Set pieces, counter attacks and a whole lot of luck are Los Catrachos’ best chance of causing an upset.

Key Player- Jerry Bengtson, although not prolific in the MLS for New England Revolution, Bengtson is considered a pivotal part of the Honduras squad with his goals and will have to be in form if Honduras are to shock everyone and advance through. However I don’t think it’s their time yet.

Prediction- 4th