With France emphatically staking its claim to the top spot in Group E, the fight continues for the second spot into the knockout round.
Honduras and Ecuador both fell in their first round matchups – albeit in very different fashions – and with Switzerland falling hard, there is an opening for either of these sides to try and gazump the seeded team.
The Hondurans are the only CONCACAF team without a win, let alone a point, and could complete an outstanding group stage start for the federation with a win over a South American side.
Ecuador, however, will be favored in this match as they nearly kept up with the seeded Swiss in their opener.
Ecuador – Dominguez; Guagua, Erazo, Paredes, Ayovi; Noboa, Minda, Montero, Valencia; Caicedo, Valencia.
Honduras – Valladares; Figueroa, Benardez, Izaguirre, Beckeles; Garcia, Espinoza, Garrido, Claros; Bengston, Costly.
1. Can Honduras shed their weakest link status? As mentioned above, the Hondurans are the only CONCACAF team without a win, and should that change, they would add themselves to the surprising start Mexico, Costa Rica, and the United States have contributed to this World Cup.
2. How muddy does Group E get? A win for either of these sides gives Switzerland real concern, and could set up a do-or-die scenario in the final round. Having their goal difference shattered by France, either of these sides tonight could jump on the opportunity to pressure the Swiss and get themselves into contention for the knockout stage. Even a draw would suit either side, requiring Switzerland to get points its final game with Honduras to move through.
Expectations: Ecuador proved they have attacking power against Switzerland, as well as the quality needed to get past a side like Honduras. Los Catrachos looked to be struggling against France, although we now know that’s not saying much after what happened to the Swiss. If they don’t lose a man to a red card early like last time out, they could turn some heads. This is a statement game for Honduras to show the world what they’re really made of after a throw-away first time out.
One blogger’s prediction: This is a tough game to pick, without knowing truly what Honduras is made of. Riding the CONCACAF wave, they could get a point out of this one or even more, and for lack of a better option, we’ll stick with Los Catrachos to put CONCACAF at an all-time high with a 2-1 win.