The 2014 World Cup is just a day away, that being the case it’s only right that we (MMOS) take a look at the impending action. We’re going to go through each group, providing some information on each and every team.
Switzerland – Will this be the year this country gets it done? The Swiss have made deep runs in this tournament in the past, none of them ending with them at the podium. This unit had an extremely rocky qualifying run, more difficult than expected when considering the wealth of talent at their disposal. Their 2010 World Cup trip was cut extremely short as they beat Spain(1-0), but didn’t get out of the Group Stage. They have plenty of experience and leadership in Tranquillo Barnetta and Gokhan Inler. The key will be how their youngsters play on this level, the big names playing key roles in both the middle and on the back-line. Can Fabian Schar, Granit Xhaka and Valentin Stocker step in and produce, their side needs them to if they wish to be the last team standing.
Ecuador – In their last tournament appearance (2006), they lost to England in the round of 16. While talented, Ecuador was wildly inconsistent during it’s qualifying run. Midfielder Segundo Castillo couldn’t overcome a knee injury after making the final roster, Oswaldo Minda has been called up in his place. From an attacking standpoint, Ecuador will easily win over casual fans. They have two dynamic wings in Antonio Valencia and Cristhian Noboa, their ability to attack should help them out of the group stage, shouldn’t count on a very deep run.
France – Who’s going to fill the void left by the injured Franck Ribery? It may take more than one player, France must go forward without one of their leaders. Fortunately, this team is not void of talent. The back of the starting 11 are a strength, they have a very experienced back line along with a very good keeper in Hugo Lloris. Patrice Evra will certainly be able to fill some of the void left by Ribery as far as leadership goes, the midfield will obviously be different without his calming presence. We will get to see how Paul Pogba does without Ribery alongside him, France will need a big tournament from Pogba. France most recently beat Jamaica 8-0, outside of the score, there was something intriguing to be taken away from the game. France had two strikers playing alongside each other when normally they operate with one central striker with two forwards on the flank. The duo of Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud were nothing short of destructive, while this may not happen often, it could be a very valuable option late in games or in spurts. France looks to rebound from it’s horrible showing in the 2010 World Cup.
Honduras – When Coach Luis Fernando Suarez took over in 2011, he did something most other coaches of national teams don’t do..he coached the U-23 team in London. There, he had his hands on the next generation of players in the country. With that in mind, it came to no surprise that their was a youth infusion on the national team. Honduras is participating in just it’s third tournament, they are looking to get out of the group stage this go round as they struggled to do so in 2006. This team has been powered by it’s strong back line, Emilio Izaguirre does a great job anchoring that line. In the midfield, lies one of the most popular players in Wilson Palcios. There’s an exciting young man playing atop the formation, Jerry Bengston netted nine goals during the qualifying run. Is this they year that Honduras makes it to the elimination round? It will surely rest at the feet of the youngsters on this squad.