There was not a great deal of optimism surrounding France heading into the 2014 World Cup, but after two impressive performances they are one of the form teams of the tournaments and clear favourites to defeat Ecuador at Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro at 6am (AEST) tomorrow morning.
France dominated a fiery Honduras in their opening fixture of the 2014 World Cup and scored a well-deserved 3-0 victory, but it was there 5-2 victory over Switzerland that stamped themselves as genuine World Cup contenders.
France dominated the game from the outset and played a very attractive style of football; with Switzerland only able to get on the score sheet in the final ten minutes of the game once the result was well and truly decided.
Karim Benzema has been in sensational for France upfront and is unlucky not to have a big lead in the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot and he has ably supported by the likes of Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi and Mathieu Valbuena.
If France is able to replicate their opening performances at the World Cup they should prove far too good for their Ecuadorian rivals and even if they lose they are still highly likely to finish on top of Group E.
Ecuador knew coming into the 2014 World Cup that their opening game against Switzerland would be key to their chances of qualifying for the second round and they got off to an excellent start, but were left heartbroken after conceding a late goal in injury time.
That loss left Ecuador with a tough assignment to qualify for the second round and they were far from convincing against Honduras, but kept their chances of getting out of the group alive thanks to a brace from Enner Valencia.
Ecuador will need to produce a much improved performance if they are going to get anything out of this clash with France and they look liked they will be the only South American side that fails to advance to the round of 16.
France are currently available at odds of $1.73 with Ladbrokes.com.au to defeat Ecuador tomorrow morning and although that is a fairly short quote, it does actually represent a bit of value.
The $5 on offer for Ecuador is not worth a bet and a draw ($3.80) seems unlikely as Ecuador will be forced to chase goals to give themselves any real chance of progression.
Based on his form at the 2014 World Cup to date, the $4.33 on offer for Benzema to open the scoring is well worth a bet, while a half-time/full-time double of France/France at $2.60 is another bet that represents good value.
Leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au are offering a wide range of offers throughout the World Cup and are also giving new customers a free bet worth up to $250 that can be used to back France, Ecuador or any other side still alive in the 2014 World Cup.