Group E offers some interesting matches with Ecuador and Switzerland looking to challenge the French who want to avoid another disaster like 2010. Here's the odds for the group.
After a monumental exit in South Africa, French coach Didier Deschamps has selected a squad not just based on skill but one void of troublemakers from years past.
The most notable name missing from the lineup is Manchester City attacking midfielder Samri Nasri who was left off despite a stellar season in the Premier League. But Deschamps feels that his squad is fully loaded and as such are favoured in Group E with odds of 1.20 to move on and 1.80 to win it. With talent like Frank Ribery, Karim Benzema, and young Juventus standout Paul Pogba available, that latter selection is good value.
Switzerland have gradually made their name on the international stage by booking a ticket for their third consecutive World Cup via a top finish from their qualifying group. Now, they had the easiest group in UEFA to get here but the Swiss are still a tough nut to deal with. They come in at 1.57 to advance to the round of 16 and 3.25 to win it. They did beat Spain in the opening round in 2010 and could provide another shock here.
Ecuador will likely be the surprise of the group and with odds of 1.91 to advance, that offers some decent value for a tough squad that will be playing in front of plenty of traveling supporters. They are listed at 5.50 to win the group and while it isn't that far-fetched, it is pushing it. They finished fourth in South American qualifying, ahead of Uruguay, and will look to repeat the success of 2006 when they advanced to the second round.
A team that won't likely win the group (17.00) is Honduras. They gave a respectable showing in 2010 with a draw against Switzerland while losing to Chile and Spain without getting blown out. They have never won a game at their two prior tournaments and don't expect that trend to change here. Nevertheless, to advance they are offered at 8.00.