10 Key Factors That Will Decide FIFA World Cup 2014 Group E

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistJune 23, 2014

10 Key Factors That Will Decide FIFA World Cup 2014 Group E

0 of 10

    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Group E has become more of the more watchable groups at the World Cup, headed by a France side who seem determined to entertain as they bid to make up for their failings of four years ago.

    Karim Benzema and company are all but through to the last 16 following their wins over Honduras and Switzerland, which saw them score eight goals and miss countless chances for even more. Behind them are three teams who could, mathematically at least, still make it through to the second round.

    Ecuador currently sit in the box seat in second ahead of Switzerland, despite both being on three points, with Honduras bottom without picking up a point yet.

    Here are the factors that could decide the group when the final matches take place on Wednesday. 

Enner Valencia Could Keep on Scoring

1 of 10

    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Ecuador know that they'll qualify with a win over France unless Switzerland beat Honduras by more than two goals. They'll also qualify if they were to better the Swiss side's result.

    They'll need goals, then. Fortunately, they've got one of the World Cup's deadliest finishers in Enner Valencia.

    The Pachuca forward has scored all three of his side's goals at the tournament so far, strikes which are sure to have ignited interest in him from Europe. If he can maintain his form against the French, then Ecuador could be heading through.

Honduras Could Keep Up Their Physical Approach

2 of 10

    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Going into their clash against Switzerland, there is little to suggest that Honduras will alter the physical approach that they've been demonstrating in their games so far.

    They've frequently launched into challenges with reckless abandon, but then that is what they are best at.

    That approach could frustrate Switzerland in Manaus, leading them to perhaps drop some valuable points.

Xherdan Shaqiri Could Suddenly Find His Form

3 of 10

    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Having been soundly beaten by them on Friday, Switzerland are now hoping for a favour from France when they face Ecuador.

    A French victory would mean that Switzerland would just need a point from their game against Honduras to go through, and if Bayern Munich's Xherdan Shaqiri finds the form that we all know he's capable of during that game, then that point could be the least that they get.

    Shaqiri hasn't quite hit the heights during this tournament so far, but he should use the chastening experience he had against France for inspiration when he faces Honduras.

Karim Benzema Could Secure the Golden Boot Against Ecuador

4 of 10

    Felipe Oliveira/Getty Images

    They say that the Golden Boot can often be secured in the group stages, and that could have already been the case for Karim Benzema.

    He's scored three times already, but he could easily have doubled his tally had he not missed a great chance against Honduras and then seen a penalty saved and a goal disallowed against Switzerland.

    He'll be looking to make up for them against Ecuador in Rio, where another goal-laden display from the Real Madrid forward could fire the South Americans out of the tournament. 

France Won't Want to Lose Momentum

5 of 10

    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    The French side are in stunning form, banging in the goals and giving an indication that they could go far in the tournament.

    Didier Deschamps' side could still mathematically go out following these final group games, but with that looking unlikely, the manager could be tempted to ring the changes when his men face Ecuador. He shouldn't.

    His most surprising selection decision for the Switzerland game saw him pick Olivier Giroud over Antoine Griezmann. That decision proved to be such a success that he really should stick with the winning formula for the Ecuador game in order to maintain momentum.

Philippe Senderos Will Face Honduras

6 of 10

    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    The broken cheekbone suffered by Steve von Bergen following his collision with Giroud in Salvador has ruled the 31-year-old Young Boys centre-back out for the rest of the tournament, according to the BBC.

    With Von Bergen heading back to Switzerland, Philippe Senderos is likely to be called into the side just as he was against France, when a calamitous display contributed to his side conceding five goals.

    Any potential errors made by the new Aston Villa signing if and when he faces Honduras could be capitalised on and result in the Swiss heading home.

It's a Last Chance for the Honduras Players to Earn a Move

7 of 10

    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Plenty of the Honduras squad will have looked upon this World Cup as a chance to put themselves in the shop window, with 11 of the 23-man party still plying their trade in their native country.

    They will look upon the likes of Maynor Figueroa and Wilson Palacios as inspirational figures, so the Switzerland game could be seen as a last chance for them to earn a transfer to England or elsewhere in Europe.

    It'll certainly be the last time the eyes of the world will be on them for a while, and they won't want to let the opportunity pass.

And the Same Can Be Said for Ecuador

8 of 10

    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    A Similar notion applies to Ecuador too, with Enner Valencia not the only member of their squad who will be looking to impress the watching scouts.

    A good performance against France, maybe even so good that it earns them the victory and a place in the next round, will certainly leave a lasting impression on those watching and perhaps make household names of a few Ecuador players.

    Nine of the squad's players play for club sides in Ecuador, while a further seven play in Mexico, including the tournament's joint top scorer Valencia. They could all be hoping to change that after the summer.

Will a Shake-Up at the Back Affect France?

9 of 10

    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    France's Mamadou Sakho was forced off with a thigh injury after 66 minutes in the win over Switzerland, and his side went on to concede two goals in his absence.

    You couldn't really put this down to any errors on the part of his replacement, Laurent Koscielny, but did the defensive reshuffle trouble a French side who appear to have a settled back four in Patrice Evra, Sakho, Raphael Varane and Mathieu Debuchy?

    Deschamps will be hoping that the Liverpool defender's injury isn't too serious.

Valon Behrami

10 of 10

    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Ultimately, with France expected by many to beat Ecuador and Switzerland also expected to beat Honduras, who gets second place in the group could end up coming down to what happened when the Swiss met the South Americans in Brasilia in their opening game.

    Haris Seferovic scored Switzerland's last-gasp winner, but the credit for the goal really should go to midfielder Valon Behrami, who made a tackle in his own box, started an attack, rode a challenge despite clearly being fouled and set the move from which Seferovic struck.

    It was one of the standout moments of the World Cup so far, and it could prove so vital when Group E comes to a close.