2014 World Cup: Breaking Down Group E
Group E is easily the weakest group and truly the only weak group of the eight. Ecuador, Honduras and France join Switzerland from Pot 1 in what should be a cakewalk for one nation heading into the knockout stage.
The Swiss have a lot to prove after being awarded a spot in Pot 1 over the likes of the Netherlands and Italy. They’ll be hoping the likes of Gokhan Inler, Xerdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka can lead them into the knockout stage to at least prove their worthiness of a top seed.
Not only did the French scrape into the 2014 World Cup after a comeback 3-0 win over Ukraine in the second leg of the qualifying stage, but they are then rewarded with what should be the easiest nine points of any team in Brazil. The 1998 champions will look to reestablish themselves as a European powerhouse after a disappointing showing in the last few major competitions.
Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema give Les Bleus goal-scoring options while Paul Pogba, Franck Ribery and Mathieu Valbuena provide the creative spark necessary from the midfield. A squad with experience and depth, France has what it takes to go far. Whether they can harness the talent remains to be seem.
Ecuador will hope it can replicate its performance in the 2006 World Cup by making it to the round of 16. Led by captain Antonio Valencia and fresh off a solid display in World Cup qualifying, La Tri could be a surprise contender for the second knockout stage berth in the group.
Los Catrachos are making only their third World Cup appearance and have not made it out of the group stage in either of the first two. Finishing third in CONCACAF qualifying, Honduras will have a difficult test in Brazil. Led by Andy Najar, Roger Espinoza and Wilson Palacios, the Hondurans could surprise a few in 2014, but likely won’t cause much of a problem.