Ecuador vs France: World Cup 2014 match preview

A look ahead to the Group E clash between Ecuador and France in the Maracana stadium

France are now sitting comfortably in Group E’s top spot after overcoming all the doubts regarding the team’s unity and a dramatic qualification to the competition. Les Tricolores have proven that the team has absolutely no resemblance to Raymond Domenech’s mess in South Africa four years ago and have beaten Honduras and destroyed Switzerland in the space of two weeks.

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho had to be withdrawn during the second half of the Switzerland win because of an injury, but the 24-year-old has played down any concerns regarding his fitness.

Manager Didier Deschamps is expected to make changes to his starting line-up and save his key players for the next round, as Les Bleus are safe thanks to their goal record. One player that could possibly sit that one out is Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who has scored three goals at the group stage, with QPR’s Loic Remy being considered among the possible replacements.

Ecuador will need a win to secure their qualification and will hope that Switzerland do not beat Honduras with a long goal margin. Manager Reinaldo Rueda will be counting a lot on Enner Valencia’s goal-scoring form, Jefferson Montero’s skills and quickness on the wings as well as the experience of Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia.

 

KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 9pm

PAST MEETING:

France 2 (Gomis 2) Ecuador 0, International Friendly, May 2008

STATS:

Ecuador have never beaten France.

Ecuador forward Enner Valencia, who has no relation to the Manchester United winger, has scored all three of Ecuador’s goals in their two previous group stage matches and has netted the ball in all of his last six international appearances. As a kid, he used to milk cows and would then sell the milk to save up for his first pair of football boots.

La Tri have failed to keep a clean sheet for seven straight matches.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud scored France’s 100 goal in the World Cup last week and now Les Tricolores count 104 goals in the competition.

Real Madrid hitman Karim Benzema has picked up nine goals in his last eight international caps.

ODDS:

Ecuador to win: 15.4

France to win: 17.20

Draw: 13.5

TV: Live on BBC One at 9pm

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