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A Baguette With a Side of Swiss Cheese Please; Preview of World Cup's Group E

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This is an interesting group of teams, that can score. France has arguably one of the best offenses in the tournament with benzema leading the front. The Swiss have a solid midfield lined up for them and depth to follow. Honduras are not very experienced with this only being their third time ever qualifying. They have never, however, made it out of the group stages. And this year won't be any different. Ecuador is still missing Christian Benitez. They do have some young studs but the goal production wont be the same. If Enner Valencia can get something going then maybe the race for 2nd will be interesting. 

Key Points:

France - The French national team is looking to make a statement in this years World Cup after their embarrassing outing in South Africa. Laurent Blanc had an atrocious few years as head coach when he couldn't make it past the quarter finals of the Euro Championship. He made the right move stepping down as manager of the French national team, having presently appointed manager Didier Deschamps take over. Over the past year the French have started to heat things up, especially after their dramatic comeback in World Cup Qualifiers that saw them overcome a 2 goal deficit on aggregate and win 3 to nothing in the second leg in front of their thousands of fans. Leading the way with goals is Karim Benzema. When he's on fire, so are the players around him. The French have a very stable midfield in Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye, and Blaise Matuidi. A couple of weeks ago drastic news hit the French team as Franck Ribery was ruled out of the World Cup tournament with a back injury. A HUGE loss to the French national team, or at least one would think so. On June 8th the French came out in their home country and versed the Jamaican national team. France, with excitement and anger built up within... scored a whopping 8 goals on the poor Jamaicans. If France can come together and play the way they played against Jamaica, their opponents are in for a tough day on the back line.

Switzerland - The Swiss boast a strong lineup with a lot of raw, young talent in their roster. One controversial exclusion from their roster, however, was their leading scorer in Eren Derdiyok. Switzerland opted to go for fresh meat and hope for the best. The midfield is what Switzerland is known for though. Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern Munch, Gokhan Inler of Napoli, Tranquillo Barnetta of Eintracht Frankfurt, the depth is remarkable. If Switzerland can play their game and retain possession, making smart plays, they can surely come together and make it out of the group peacefully. Their only real threat is perhaps the French attack force but if Switzerland can capitalize on the two other nations Honduras and Ecuador they have a shot at building momentum into the knockout stages.

Honduras - The Honduras national team fans will surely be looking forward to seeing how their striking pair in Jerry Bengtson and Carlo Costly can contribute to helping the team to attempt at a sneaky push for knockout stage qualification. That probably won't happen however. The group they are playing in includes a solid French defense, one of the best in the tournament, and two decent defenses in Switzerland and Ecuador. However, the midfield of Honduras will not be able to compete with the midfield with either team thus not giving Honduras enough possession to get anything going. The team will have to rely on counter-attacks to produce goals.

Ecuador - Edison Mendez and Antonio Valencia are going to have to get something new going in the midfield if Ecuador wants any shot at the knockout rounds. Ecaudor can score, and if Enner Valencia can continue scoring then Ecuador might have a solid shot at knocking off the Swiss for that number 2 spot. The loss of Christian Benitez will hurt them a lot. Ecuador will be relying on their young strikers to get production. Hopefully they get something going and not have to miss Benitez.

Matches & Predictions:

Matchup  Date  Time (-5:00) EST  Prediction 
 Switzerland vs. Ecuador  Sun, 15 June  12:00 pm 2-1
France vs. Honduras Sun, 15 June 3:00 pm 2-0
Switzerland vs. France Fri, 20 June 3:00 pm 1-1
Honduras vs. Ecuador Fri, 20 June 6:00 pm 0-1
Honduras vs. Switzerland Wed, 25 June 4:00 pm 1-1
Ecuador vs. France Wed, 25 June 4:00 pm 1-2

Final Table Prediction:

Team  GP  GF GA  GD  PTS 
France  5 2 3 7
Switzerland 4 3 1 5
Ecuador  3 4  -1 3
Honduras 4 -3 1
By Alec Kleyer