Ah, France. Well-known for having the most pathetic performance of a defending Champion of all time, they may have gotten that monkey off their back yesterday after Spain's massacre at the hands of The Netherlands. But even so, you never quite know what you're going to get. Full-scale revolt and rebellion is unlikely now, but chronic underachievement isn't either. Despite all that, they still have one of the finest sides at this tournament when examined under scrutiny, and they could well go far. First, they have what should be a straightforward task in taking on plucky little Honduras.
Know the Basics
Know the Basics
France's play will be focused around their powerful midfield, which is arguably the best in the tournament. Yohan Cabaye, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi are three very complete players who are all capable of defending, running, and scoring and creating goals. That gives them a remarkable solidity combined with unpredictability, particularly when you consider the fact that Pogba and Cabaye are capable of scoring from pretty much anywhere due to their long-range ability.
They've got a pretty solid defence too, albeit it with the slightly erratic Patrice Evra at left-back. The problems for France are really up front, with Franck Ribery resulting in them losing a major star. Karim Benzema should provide a good focal point in attack, but despite enjoying a good season with Real Madrid there are plenty others who are more prolific.
Honduras, meanwhile, do like to keep the ball on the ground but they're generally a team of well-organised workhorses who need to be strong and play as a team to have any chance of victory. They have a small talent pool and while they may have some faces known to watchers of the Premier League and La Liga, they're going to spend the vast majority of this tournament on the back foot.
Paul Pogba is possibly already the greatest midfielder in the world, which is terrifying giving his tender age. A phenomenally complete player, he combines physicality with technique, being tall and strong but also quick-footed, who is equally capable at either end of the pitch. With Ribery out, he'll undoubtedly be the main hope of carrying this France side.
Elsewhere, Benzema will be relied upon to have a good tournament, while Antoine Griezmann will also be looking to show what he can do on the world stage. And then there's Hugo Lloris, a goalkeeper capable of stunning saves but one who's also terrifying to watch due to his tendency to charge out of his own area.
Honduras, meanwhile, have Roger Espinoza as one of their key players, who was a success in the Premier League at Wigan, with Carlo Costly the veteran striker who will be their biggest source of goals. In defence, they have more experience in Maynor Figueroa, who is also capable of the odd piledriver of a free-kick or long-range effort.