World Cup Schedule 2014: Fixtures, Kick-Off Times and Predictions for Day 4

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World Cup Schedule 2014: Fixtures, Kick-Off Times and Predictions for Day 4
Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

Tournament favourites Argentina will start their 2014 World Cup campaign in the last of three total matches to be played on Day 4.

European heavyweights France and neighbours Switzerland will play Honduras and Ecuador, respectively, as fans will get some idea of how the teams in Group E stack up against each other.

Here's the full list of Sunday's fixtures:

2014 World Cup Day 4 Schedule
Date Match Time TV info Live Stream
Sun, June 15 Group E: Switzerland vs. Ecuador 5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET ABC/ITV WatchESPN/ITV Player
Sun, June 15 Group E: France vs. Honduras 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET ABC/BBC 1 WatchESPN/BBC iPlayer
Sun, June 15 Group F: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina 11 p.m. BST/6 p.m. ET ESPN/BBC 1 WatchESPN/BBC iPlayer

wheresthematch.com

 

Switzerland vs. Ecuador

Marc Eich/Getty Images

On paper, this should be the most evenly matched fixture of the day, but as we saw when the Netherlands overran defending champions Spain on Friday, none of that really matters once the first ball is kicked.

Switzerland aren't a particularly exciting team for fans to watch, with most of their pre-tournament friendlies ending with just one or two goals scored. It's a credit to the Swiss' exceptional organisation and work rate—they give up very few chances and find ways to win the ugly matches.

That's not to say the team doesn't boast quality players. Diego Benaglio is a solid stopper, Stephan Lichtsteiner is a regular for Juventus and Gokhan Inler, Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri make up one of the most underrated midfield groupings in international football.

Much will rest on the young shoulders of Josip Drmic. The striker enjoyed an exceptional breakout campaign in the Bundesliga in 2013-14, and Switzerland are counting on him to be the difference maker in front of goal.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Ecuador are one of the most difficult teams to read coming into the tournament. They looked strong in their 2-2 draw against England but failed to convince against Mexico and a then-struggling Dutch side, and their discipline has been one of the biggest concerns for manager Reinaldo Ruena.

Manchester United's Antonio Valencia is the star, but Ecuador aren't overly reliant on star quality—they defend and attack as one, and their relentless pursuit of the ball often puts teams not used to playing together in a difficult spot. Chemistry can be an issue for teams whose players are scattered all over the globe, though it's not a problem for Ecuador.

The team's high-octane style of play could wear out a Swiss team used to playing on the ball in Europe, but in terms of talent, the advantage goes to the Europeans.

Prediction: Switzerland 1-0 Ecuador

 

France vs. Honduras

David Vincent/Associated Press

If Les Bleus keep up the level they've been playing at the last few weeks, this match could turn into the biggest mismatch of the tournament.

France's squad is loaded with talent, starting in goal with Hugo Lloris. His defensive line is relatively young but oozing with potential, and the same goes for France's powerful midfield unit, which is anchored by Paul Pogba and features the surging Antoine Griezmann.

Up front, Karim Benzema goes into the tournament on the back of his best season yet for Real Madrid, and while his best form has often eluded him at the international level, the striker should be able to feast on an overpowered Honduras defence.

Honduras were very solid qualifying from CONMEBOL, but it's one of the weakest regions in all of world football. A 4-2 loss to Israel highlighted a number of issues with the squad, the biggest one being a general lack of talent.

Moises Castillo/Associated Press

The team made up for that lack of talent with an aggressive game plan against England, and it worked to perfection. The problem is that France are also very physical in the centre of the pitch, and they'd like nothing more than to turn this match into a street fight.

Maynor Figueroa is the team's most experienced player at the back and Roger Espinoza has been solid playing for Wigan Athletic this past year. Their X factor is 21-year-old Andy Najar, who impressed greatly in his last few months at Anderlecht and has the potential to move to a bigger club in the near future.

But, even without the injured Franck Ribery, it's difficult to imagine France struggling against this Honduran side. If they can contain Carlo Costly, this match should be over before it even begins.

Prediction: France 3-0 Honduras

 

Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Eduardo Di Baia/Associated Press

The Albiceleste will be facing arguably their toughest opponents of the group stages first, as Bosnia and Herzegovina will be looking to announce their arrival on the World Cup stage with a bang.

This is a young nation when it comes to football history, but their team isn't lacking in talent or experience. Everyone knows Edin Dzeko is a dangerous striker, but Asmir Begovic was one of the Premier League's better stoppers last season and Miralem Pjanic was the driving force behind AS Roma's spectacular season in Serie A.

Wins against Mexico and Ivory Coast look good on any team's resume, and the Bosnians have no reason to think that they don't stand a chance against Argentina.

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Argentina have looked shaky on the defensive side of the ball at times in the past year, but when you have the best group of attackers in the world it doesn't really matter all that much. By controlling the ball and pressing forward, any defensive frailties can be easily disguised.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina players will be watching Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero running at them in their very first World Cup match—a scary prospect no matter who you are. When Argentina are on their game, they have the potential to score from every angle, at any given time.

One thing working against the Albiceleste is the pressure. Argentina haven't won a World Cup since 1986 and are aching for glory on the biggest stage. For the mercurial Messi, the 2014 tournament is seen as the perfect opportunity for the four-time Ballon d'Or winner to cement his legacy.

But Messi's 2013-14 campaign wasn't a rousing success, and while the pint-sized forward has often been great in the national shirt, he's also come up short on a number of occasions. People are expecting greatness, and those expectations could paralyze the squad.

Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina

 


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