Ecuador should get their first points on the board.
There wasn’t a lot of positivity to be gleaned from Honduras’ opening Group E match with the French.
Wilson Palacios and his colleagues seemed intent in kicking France all the way back to Paris and it was no surprise when the Stoke midfielder was eventually red-carded in the incident that led to Karim Benzema’s opener.
Against only 10 men, Didier Deschamps’ team ran out comfortable winners giving the Central American qualifiers a mountain to climb if they are to get out of the group stages as Palacios, arguably their most experienced and accomplished player, is now suspended.
It might not get any easier against Ecuador, who were unlucky to lose their first game against the Swiss. There were just 23 seconds remaining of stoppage time when Switzerland scored the decisive goal, the South Americans paying a heavy price for trying to force a winner of their own.
Reinaldo Rueda probably won’t too many changes for this tie as his team didn’t do a lot wrong in Brasilia and had led at half time with another goal from Enner Valencia. The striker, who plies his trade for Mexican side Pachuca, is useful in the air and will be a threat again at set pieces.
He is 5/1 to be the game’s first goalscorer while namesake Antonio, the Manchester United winger, is 11/1.
Honduras might be more at home against Ecuador in their second match but are going to have to change their approach if they are to have any chance of progressing and there doesn’t look to be a lot of firepower in their ranks.
Ecuador concede soft goals but are a threat themselves going forward and should get their first points on the board with a victory – the 8/13 looks more than fair.
The match kicks off at 11pm UK time on Friday June 20th at the Arena da Baixada, Curitiba.