(Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras)
The favorite: France. After a disastrous 2010 World Cup, the French — even without Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery, who will miss the World Cup with a back injury — have too much talent not to get out of an easy group.
The sleeper: Ecuador. Other than Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, there aren’t any big names on the Ecuador team. But don’t write them off because of that; qualifying out of South America is no cakewalk.
Player to watch: Karim Benzema, F, France. The Real Madrid striker, who has been criticized for not being as good as Cristiano Ronaldo (really, who is?), will need to score plenty of goals for France to make a deep run.
Predicted order of finish: France, Ecuador, Switzerland, Honduras
Switzerland vs. Ecuador (Sun., noon, ABC); France vs. Honduras (Sun., 3 p.m., ABC);
Switzerland vs. France (June 20, 3 p.m., ESPN); Honduras vs. Ecuador (June 20, 6 p.m., ESPN); Honduras vs. Switzerland (June 25, 4 p.m., ESPN); Ecuador vs. France (June 25, 4 p.m., ESPN2)
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