Group E: France vs. Honduras
- June 15, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Live on CBC TV, streaming online at cbc.ca/fifaworldcup
What's at stake
Group E supremacy seems fairly much open. An early-stage victory by either side will help put a stamp on this group.
As with the other Group E opener, these two teams have never played each other. So there’s no rivalry at stake. But important points certainly are on the line.
France: Paul Pogba. This 21-year old Juventus midfielder will be asked to carry a lot of weight for his team following the loss of Franck Ribery to injury.
Honduras: Emilio Izaguirre. A solid defender who plays for Celtic in the Scottish Premier League, Izaguirre was instrumental in getting his national side to Brazil.
What to watch for
The French haven’t won a World Cup match since beating Portugal in the 2006 semifinal. And there was that small matter of its players going on strike in 2010. The one-time World Cup champions — on home soil in 1998 — are expected to be more competitive this time around. With the only strikes coming on goal.
Honduras scored two goals in three minutes to beat Mexico at the Azteca in qualifying. This was a huge win for "Los Catachos," as they are known. And playing with only 10 men, they kept England to a 0-0 draw in a warm-up match.
They said it
“What happened [in 2010] happened. That won’t go away. It put a stamp on our history. But we don’t need to discuss it again.” — French manager Didier Deschamps told The Wall Street Journal.
“They [the other World Cup teams] look at our football as exotic and strange, something which is normal because we've only just qualified [for the World Cup] on consecutive occasions. It's time to take the next step." — Luis Fernando Suarez, manager of Honduras. as quoted by The Associated Press.
The Big Number
17 — Les Bleus have won all 17 of their games in which Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has scored for his country.
Obligatory Fun Fact
France hit the century mark — its100th qualifying match — in the first leg of the team's two-game playoff against Ukraine last fall. France lost 2-0 but by winning the second game 3-0, the team became the first in World Cup history to have qualified via the playoffs after coming back from a two-goal deficit in the first leg.