World Cup 2014 Group E Betting Preview: France Favored Big on Odds Lists ColumnistJune 9, 2014

French soccer Blaise Matuidxi, left,reacts after scoring against Jamaica with Patrice Evra during the friendly soccer match between France and Jamaica at the Lille Metropole stadium, in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, Sunday, June 8, 2014.  France in preparation for the upcoming FIFA soccer World Cup in Brazil starting on 12 June. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Jacques Brinon/Associated Press

If France plays to its potential, the squad should have no trouble winning Group E and advancing into the knockout round.

Of course, after going winless in a terrible showing in 2010, there are doubts as to whether France will play to its potential. If it doesn't, Switzerland or Ecuador will be there to rise up and take this intriguing group.

France has the pieces in place to not only win Group E but to make a run towards a World Cup triumph at 25-1 as well.

The French squad has a solid mix of veterans such as goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Karim Benzema leading the way, but it also has some young talent on the roster ready to make a splash including 21-year-old midfielder Paul Pogba.

All eyes are on coach Didier Deschamps, who is tasked with getting the team to play its best in 2014, especially on defense where France is sometimes prone to breakdowns. France was a 5-7 favorite to win Group E but saw a slight drop with news that veteran Franck Ribery will not play.

Switzerland is a young and talented team that looked sharp throughout the qualifying stage leading up to this year's World Cup. Switzerland's 1-0 win over Spain in the 2010 World Cup group stage showed what this team is capable of at its best, but that was unfortunately the only goal the Swiss scored in that tournament, losing 0-1 to Chile and drawing Honduras 0-0.

The squad enters this year in the same spot: technically sound and excellent on defense but lacking proven firepower up front. Switzerland is going off at 11-4 to win Group E.

Ecuador (4-1 to win Group E) should be able to score goals with a talented pair of forwards up front in Felipe Caicedo and Jefferson Montero and a pair of strong midfielders in Luis Antonio Valencia and Christian Noboa.

The issue for Ecuador, however, will be the defense, which has been allowing far to many goals in matches leading up to the World Cup. The match between Ecuador and Switzerland should be a very interesting strength-against-weakness type of game, with Ecuador focused on offense and Switzerland focused on defense.

Honduras (25-1) has never won a match in World Cup play, and in 2010's tournament the team failed to score a single goal. A 0-0 draw against Switzerland or an underachieving French side isn't out of the question, nor is scoring a goal on Ecuador's leaky defense.

Still, finding a win in this group will be very tough for the Hondurans.


Stats and odds courtesy of Odds Shark.