World Cup Bracket Predictions 2014: Full Projections for Day 4 Action

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World Cup Bracket Predictions 2014: Full Projections for Day 4 Action
Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

We've already seen several crazy upsets during the 2014 World Cup, and Day 4 of the tournament will once again provide the underdogs with an excellent opportunity to surprise the established order.

Six teams will take to the pitch on Sunday, including favourites Argentina and World Cup first-timers Bosnia and Herzegovina, who will be approaching their match free of any pressure.

France and Switzerland can't afford to make any mistakes as they start their group-stage campaigns. As we saw when Costa Rica dismantled Uruguay, no single team that made it to Brazil should be underestimated.

Here's the full schedule for Sunday's action:

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

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The Swiss haven't lost a match since last November and went through the entire qualifying campaign unbeaten­. Ecuador were unable to win any of their friendlies in preparation of the tournament.

On paper, the Europeans should be favourites going into this contest.

But football isn't played on paper, as Uruguay can attest to. Like Uruguay's opponents Costa Rica, Ecuador are a rugged, physical team not afraid to take it to their opponents. With two excellent wingers in Antonio Valencia and Jefferson Montero, they have enough talent in their ranks to surprise the Swiss.

Of course, there's a reason Switzerland currently occupy the sixth spot on FIFA's official rankings. This team is sneaky-good and very underrated.

Alan Diaz/Associated Press

A powerful, disciplined midfield led by Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami has the potential to control play in the centre of the pitch against anyone, and the Swiss simply don't concede a lot of goals.

Ecuador's strengths don't lie in the centre of the pitch, however, and they won't mind giving up some of the ball against a team perhaps not used to playing in the difficult Brazilian climate.

Look for Switzerland to try and make the play against the South Americans, who won't mind eyeing the counter and set pieces as their best opportunities for scoring.

Prediction: Switzerland 1-1 Ecuador

 

France vs. Honduras

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Watching Costa Rica's heroics against Uruguay, Honduras should take but one lesson away from that match: Any team can be beaten, so don't be afraid to play.

The French are good. Really good. Hugo Lloris is a great stopper, his defenders are as dominant athletically as they are technically sound and a midfield led by Paul Pogba can mix it up with the best of them.

We haven't even talked about the attacking unit yet. Karim Benzema was phenomenal in 2013-14, and Antoine Griezmann has been excellent filling in for the injured Franck Ribery.

J Pat Carter/Associated Press

However, Les Bleus disappointed tremendously four years ago, and for all of their splendour, they're still not a supremely confident bunch. A strong result against Honduras could change that, but any struggles in this match could doom their chances for a deep run.

Honduras weren't very impressive away from home during Hexagonal qualifiers, but this is a team that have done nothing but overcome the odds in the last two years.

Carlo Costly has come to the rescue on countless occasions for this group, and in Andy Najar, he now has a future star player who can help take some of the pressure of his shoulders.

France have struggled breaking down smaller sides early in the past, and they will want to press forward early in an attempt to take away any confidence the Hondurans might have.

If Honduras can weather that early storm and build some momentum, an upset could be in the cards.

Prediction: France 2-0 Honduras

 

Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The young nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina have finally made it to the biggest stage in world football, the 2014 World Cup. Their reward? A meeting with the world's greatest attacking side, desperate for their first World Cup trophy since 1986.

Much of the attention will go to Lionel Messi, and rightfully so.

The four-time Ballon d'Or winner didn't enjoy his best season in 2013-14, but he will have had his eyes on this tournament with so many people quick to make the comparison with Diego Maradona, who cemented his legacy at the 1986 World Cup.

Their most in-form threat is Angel di Maria, however, who had a wonderful season with Real Madrid and capped it off with an excellent performance in the final of the UEFA Champions League.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

For all of their attacking brilliance, defensive questions remain. Argentina just don't field the same sort of world-class defenders as some of the other teams do. Smaller nations like Trinidad and Tobago and Slovenia had it much too easy going up against this defence at times during their friendlies.

Bosnia and Herzegovina might not be a big name in world football yet, but in Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic, they field two players more than capable of holding their own against the Albiceleste.

The pressure on the Argentine team to perform is enormous—Bosnia and Herzegovina can already be proud of the fact they've made it this far.

Argentina are favourites going into this match, and they'll look to lift the pressure of their defense by keeping the ball and attacking the goal of Asmir Begovic relentlessly.

Bosnia like to make the play themselves, however, and not unlike Croatia against Brazil, they won't be afraid of playing on the ball against Argentina as opposed to just sitting back and waiting for the inevitable.

Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina

 


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