France are now sitting comfortably in Group E’s top spot after overcoming all the doubts regarding the team’s unity and a dramatic qualification to the competition. Les Tricolores have proven that the team has absolutely no resemblance to Raymond Domenech’s mess in South Africa four years ago and have beaten Honduras and destroyed Switzerland in the space of two weeks.
Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho had to be withdrawn during the second half of the Switzerland win because of an injury, but the 24-year-old has played down any concerns regarding his fitness.
Manager Didier Deschamps is expected to make changes to his starting line-up and save his key players for the next round, as Les Bleus are safe thanks to their goal record. One player that could possibly sit that one out is Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who has scored three goals at the group stage, with QPR’s Loic Remy being considered among the possible replacements.
Ecuador will need a win to secure their qualification and will hope that Switzerland do not beat Honduras with a long goal margin. Manager Reinaldo Rueda will be counting a lot on Enner Valencia’s goal-scoring form, Jefferson Montero’s skills and quickness on the wings as well as the experience of Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia.