Ecuador must better Switzerland’s result against Honduras if they are to go through to the last 16, but face tough opposition in Didier Deschamps’ France side, who stuck five past Switzerland on Friday night. Goal difference may be key in to who goes through with France to the last 16, with Switzerland on minus two, while Ecuador are on zero.
France have been one of the teams to watch so far this World Cup, boasting the best goal difference, winning their first two games in excellent fashion, with many players stepping up to the World Cup with great performances, such as Karim Benzema, Mathieu Valbuena and Blaise Matuidi.
Ecuador were unlucky not to get a point out of their opening game against Switzerland, but looked impressive against Honduras despite going one goal down. Enner Valencia and Walter Ayovi have looked impressive for the Ecuadorians, with Enner Valencia joint top with Thomas Muller, Karim Benzema and Robin van Persie in the World Cup top goalscorer table.
- Of the three goals Ecuador have scored this World Cup, 2 have come from set plays.
- France have averaged 4 goals per game so far this World Cup.
- Karim Benzema has a WhoScored.com average of 9.3 so far this World Cup.
- Benzema has played a hand in 5 of France’s 8 goals (3 goals and 2 assists)
- Walter Ayovi has two assists in two World Cup games for Ecuador.
- France and Ecuador have faced each other just one time – a 2-0 win for the French back in 2008 – only one player features in this squad from that match; Patrice Evra.
Key Players: Ecuador’s Enner Valencia and France’s Mathieu Valbuena
Enner Valencia has been one of the standout strikers – despite being a midfielder by trade according to WhoScored.com – so far in Brazil, bagging three goals in two games. Enner Valencia and his Ecuador side will face a sterner defence on Wednesday, despite doubts around whether Mamadou Sakho and Raphael Varane are fit.
Valencia currently plies his trade in the Mexican Premier League for Pachuca, where he bagged 12 goals in 17 games, but what is more interesting is Valencia’s international record; the Pachuca striker had scored just two goals in nine Ecuador appearances for the World Cup, with no goals in their World Cup qualifying group, but has now scored three goals in two games, which has alerted many clubs around Europe into his availability.
For the French side, Karim Benzema has taken all the plaudits for their two impressive wins over Honduras and Switzerland, and rightly so, with three goals and two assists in two games.
Mathieu Valbuena, however, has looked dangerous when taking set pieces, and especially in counter attack situations. France’s third goal was mainly down to poor defensive transition in the viewpoint of Switzerland, with Valbuena and Giroud on the edge of their box when Switzerland’s shocking corner led to a fast counter attack from the Arsenal forward and Marseille winger, which effectively ended the game.
Valbuena has a WhoScored.com rating of 8.13 so far for France, averaging 49 passes and 3 key passes per game with one goal and one assist to his name, Valbuena is vital on the right side with Mathieu Debuchy overlapping on the right with Valbuena cutting inside.