World Cup Betting News, France can’t afford slip-up against Ecuador
By Ian Palmer
Even though France has won both of their World Cup Group E matches 3-0 against Honduras and 5-2 over Switzerland they’re still not guaranteed a top-two group finish. They certainly have an excellent shot at it though since they own a +6 goal difference. France will likely secure first or second place against Ecuador at the famous Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, June 25, but will be facing a South American squad that’s in a do-or-die situation.
Ecuador was beaten 2-1 on a last-minute goal in their opener against Switzerland and then rebounded with their own 2-1 win over Honduras. They currently sit in second place in the group with an even goal difference. Switzerland also has three points, but have a -2 goal difference. Honduras hasn’t earned a point yet and is -4. Technically, this group is still up for grabs though as all four teams are still alive. To advance, some of them are going to have to come up with a hatful of goals though.
This is one of the most complicated of the World Cup groups at the moment due to the standings and upcoming schedule. For Ecuador to make it to the second round they could actually lose against the French and still advance if Honduras manages to beat Switzerland the same day. But…they could also beat France and still be eliminated if Switzerland wins by a huge margin and can make up the goal difference. Ecuador can also be eliminated if they lose and Honduras beats Switzerland by a bit of a landslide. Ecuador will definitely advance with a win or draw though if Switzerland and Honduras also play to a tie.
Because of their goal difference France would have to lose 5-0 to Ecuador to run into trouble and Switzerland would have to trounce Honduras 4-0. France manager Didier Deschamps is obviously confident his squad will advance, but isn’t too happy about his players allowing a pair of goals late in the game against Switzerland after building a 5-0 lead. Many of the young French players such as Paul Pogba have played well as have the veterans including Patrice Evra and Karim Benzema.
Ecuador manager Reinaldo Rueda doesn’t want to take a gamble and rely on the result from the Honduras vs Switzerland game, so his plan will be to attack the French. He realizes a win won’t guarantee anything, but said he and his players can’t worry about anything other than their own game. Rueda said Ecuador will have to play better than they did in their first two games if they hope to advance.
Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia is one of the top Ecuadorian players, but it’s another Valencia named Enner, who has been their star player up to now. Valencia has all three of Ecuador’s goals and is proving to be quite a world-class striker. He’s also scored seven goals in his side’s last seven outings. Since France would need to self-destruct in this match to finish lower than second place Deschamps could decide to rest some of his star players. If this is the case, Ecuador could find the break they’ll be looking for in this crucial contest.