In day 4 of the 2014 World Cup, we will get to see two matches from Group E as France take on Honduras and Switzerland plays Ecuador, although the main course will be the one that comes last, as Argentina play their main rivals for supremacy in Group F, facing Bosnia in Rio de Janeiro.
There are no injury problems for both the Argentinian and Bosnian sides, which means we are likely to see Argentina start with their three-forward formation which includes Lionel Messi playing behind Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. Angel di Maria provides the midfield creativity and ability to break to the wings, playing just in front of Javier Mascherano and another player.
Bosnia, maybe more than any other side in this tournament, rely on national pride and ethos, being the only team that has made this World Cup as a first time. Edin Dzeko is the star of this team, but this isn’t like the Portuguese who seem to serve one master and play just for him. Vedad Ibisevic is just as important, while Miralem Pjanic in the midfield has a big responsibility and might even favor his odds against a so-so unit playing in front of him.
It should be a very enjoyable match and another one in which we should see at least three goals, a standard so far in the tournament. Messi’s moment of greatness that might turn into a nightmare begins now, hoping that the defense he has playing behind him is better than the names its filled with, and will do better than the one he had at Barcelona this season.
In France vs Honduras, it’s going to be one team having all the possession while the other relies on a usually strong defensive game but without too much speed up front and down the wings. Without Franck Ribery, France will play Karim Benzema in a wider position while Olivier Giroud will be the target man, but this match will be determined by how well Paul Pogba and Yohan Cabaye do in the middle, or to be more accurate how fast they’ll be able to play.
There aren’t any impressive names on the Honduran team but Jerry Bengston and Carlos Costly aren’t bad options up front if Wilson Palacios and Luis Garrido are able to apply pressure on the creative players of France and create some turnovers in the middle of the pitch. France have been very disappointing in their last three major tournaments, something that is probably putting even more pressure on a good yet somewhat lacking side which as always carries plenty of expectations, maybe too much.
Switzerland won’t surprise too many if they manage to finish first in this group. They don’t have the best of strikers with Josip Drmic leading the lines, but an attacking midfield with Xherdan Shaqiri, Valentin Stocker and Admir Mehmedi will be very difficult to slow down. Their defense is often very hard to break down even with a mediocre player like Johan Djourou playing in the middle.
Ecuador are terrible when they play away from home, but that didn’t slow them down in the 2006 World Cup, so maybe we’re in for a treat from this side which are very strong physically up front courtesy of Felipe Caicedo and Antonio Valencia, but won’t be sending too many players forward, hanging back and trying to soak up the pressure. Switzerland are a much quicker and talented team, but opening matches tend to go in weird directions, in this tournament as well.