Ecuador v France Preview: Koscielny Set To Start In Place Of Injured Sakho
PREVIEW: France take on Ecuador in the Maracana Stadium tonight in their final Group E match with progression to the knockout stages all-but secured.
France take on Ecuador in the Maracana Stadium tonight in their final Group E match with progression to the knockout stages all-but secured.
Didier Deschamps men head into the game sitting three points clear of second placed Ecuador so a point will be enough to guarantee a place in the next phase, but a far superior goal difference means even defeat tonight is likely to see the French through to the last 16.
France look the real deal this year and they followed up their 3-0 win over Honduras in the opening round of fixtures with an equally impressive 5-2 victory over Switzerland last time out, with Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema linking up well in attack.
Ecuador on the other hand know they need to match Switzerland’s result against Honduras to secure progression. Reinaldo Rueda’s side narrowly lost out to the Swiss in the opening round 2-1 but got back on track last week with victory over Honduras.
With qualification virtually secured, Deschamps is likely to make some changes to his starting eleven. Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is carrying a thigh injury so he’s set to miss out meaning Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny is likely to make his first start of the tournament.
Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane is struggling with a stomach bug so Porto’s highly-rated centre-back Eliaquim Mangala could also start at the back alongside Koscielny.
France will be without midfielder Yohan Cabaye through suspension so Rio Mavuba is expected to start, but Arsenal’s in-form striker Giroud is likely to continue up front after his excellent display against the Swiss last time out.
The Gunners hitman will likely to paired once again with Karim Benzema as the Real Madrid man continues to fight for the Golden Boot.
Ecuador have no fresh injury worries and with victory likely to be required to ensure qualification, they are expected to name a full strength side.
Ecuador: Dominguez; Paredes, Guagua, Erazo, Ayovi; A Valencia, Minda, Noboa, Montero; E Valencia, Caicedo.
France: Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Koscielny, Evra; Mavuba, Valbuena, Matuidi, Pogba, Benzema, Giroud.
France look a well balanced outfit this year and although the back-four has looked rocky at times, their attacking flair means they will be a match for anyone in the tournament.
Benzema has three goals to his name already and Arsenal’s Giroud looks fresh and dangerous through the middle, so I really don’t see Ecuador being able to live with them this evening and coupled with a Switzerland victory, I predict Ecuador will just miss out.
Ecuador 1-3 France
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