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With Les Bleus expected to dominate an otherwise open group, Al Hain-Cole is backing Ottmar Hitzfeld's side to join them in the last 16 ahead of their travel-shy opponents

Having been drawn alongside Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras, France go into Group E as overwhelming favourites to make it through to the last 16.

Les Bleus are priced at 4/5 (1.80) with William Hill to finish top of the pile, and a mere 1/5 (1.20) to simply qualify for the knockout stages.

Unlike their European neighbours, Switzerland qualified for Brazil automatically after topping their group without losing a single game, but are still rated less highly at 4/7 (1.57) to reach the second phase.

Considering the talent at Didier Deschamps’ disposal and their impressive recent friendly performances, most realists would agree with the reasonably lengthy 9/4 (3.25) odds on the Swiss sneaking top spot.

However, Ottmar Hitzfeld’s outfit are surely well worth backing at 5/6 (1.83) to accompany the French side into the last 16, with the 5/2 (3.50) price on them doing so as runners-up looking particularly tempting.

While it may seem foolhardy to write off Ecuador, their recent record of just two wins in the last 12 does not suggest that 10/11 (1.91) odds represent good value on them finishing above their European opponents, nor 9/2 (5.50) to win the group.

Reinaldo Rueda’s team had a late equaliser to thank for their 2-2 draw in last November’s friendly against a Honduras team that are priced at just 2/7 (1.29) to finish bottom of Group E - a result that does nothing to dispel fears that the pair will struggle to make it past the first round.

Like La Tri, the North Americans relied heavily on strong home form in order to make it to Brazil, and without that advantage odds of 7/1 (8.00) appear suitably long on them gaining enough points to qualify, let alone the 16/1 (17.00) on them topping the group.

In fact, Ecuador’s failure to record a single win in eight qualifiers outside of Quito underlines their vulnerability when not playing at over 9,000 metres above sea level, providing all the more reason to expect a European domination of Group E.

France & Switzerland to qualify for a 2pt stake at 5/6 (1.83) with William Hill
France & Switzerland to finish first and second for a 1pt stake at 5/2 (3.50) with William Hill

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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.