World Cup Preview: Group E. Bad boys, be gone!
Everyone will fancy their chances of progressing from Group E – even rank outsiders Honduras will have hope. Nonetheless, the business end of the group is more likely to be contested between France, Switzerland and Ecuador.
The Swiss find themselves in the inflated position of 8th in the FIFA rankings thanks to a rather kind qualifying group which they negotiated with ease. However a more likely challenger in the battle for group supremacy with France is Ecuador, who secured a higher finish in South American qualifying than Uruguay.
France’s recent tournament appearances have been plagued by media stories of real or imagined bad behaviour and clashes between players. Their progress this time around will be as much down to how they perform off the pitch as well as on it. Bad boys have in theory been excluded, but coach Didier Deschamps concedes that his squad may not compromise the 23 best French footballers as a result.
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By Tony Snow