France will begin their FIFA World Cup 2014 Campaign in Brazil with a match against minnows Honduras. The match will be played at the Estadio Beira-Rio at Porto Alegre on Sunday, June 15.
France are one of the four teams from Europe who participated in the first edition of the World Cup back in 1930. A Zinedine Zidane inspired side under Aime Jacquet won the World Cup in 1998 in front of their home supporters, beating Brazil convincingly in the final. The Les Bleus had made the final in Germany, 2006 as well besides finishing as the third placed team in Sweden, 1958 and Mexico, 1986. The latter came at a time when Michel Platini, the current president of the UEFA was at his pomp.
France finished second in the qualifying group behind Spain and had to book their world cup berth via the playoffs. After having been defeated 2-0 by Ukraine in the first leg, Didier Deschamp’s men showed plenty of desire in the second leg, which they won 3-0 to qualify for the finals.
The present French team are a good unit with good balance. Although many do not feel that they will go much far in the competition, there are also some of us who feel that they have a chance to do well with the squad that they have. While Franck Ribery’s absence through injury will have hit France, they do have the personnel to compensate for their loss.
Skipper Hugo Lloris is one of the best goalkeepers around currently while the likes of Raphael Varane, Eliaquim Mangala, Bacary Sagna, and Patrice Evra provide good cover in defense. Yohan Cabaye and Paul Pogba are solid midfielders with plenty of talent while Antoinne Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema have all had good seasons in Europe with their clubs.
Luis Fernando Suarez’s Honduras had qualified for the world cup finals quite comfortably ahead of Mexico who had to win their playoff matches over two legs to qualify. Honduras qualified third in their group in qualifying. However, they have not won a match in 2014. Their only notable performance was against England at the Wembley on June 7, where they held on to a nil-all draw.
Honduras are not a side which is overflowing with talent. They will be looking to play for each other and work as a unit. They have some industrious players in Wilson Palacios and Emilio Izaguirre, however they lack the X-factor to carry their nation over the line on their own.