Ladbrokes’ Group Dual Forecast market allows punters the chance to select the sides they think will qualify from the eight groups of the 2014 World Cup and the 6/5 about Switzerland and France emerging from Group E looks to be the jewel in its crown.
The section looks there for the plucking for the Alpine brethren, who have a vast edge in World Cup pedigree.
Switzerland have reached the quarter-finals in two of the last three tournaments they’ve reached and they’re the only side to beat Brazil since Luiz Felipe Scolari revived the hosts’ superpower status.
Les Bleus meanwhile have a squad packed full of coming men like Paul Pogba, Hugo Lloris, Blaise Matuidi, Mamadou Sakho, Raphael Varane, Yohan Cabaye, Olivier Giroud and Samir Nasri.
Scoring 16 times in winning four of their last five games indicates they’re finding some fluency at just the right time.
Nor should the galvanising effect of their back-from-the-dead qualifying defeat of Ukraine be underestimated on a squad that succeeded in scuppering itself with internal squabbling at Euro 2012.
Weighing in at 23rd and 41st in the FIFA world rankings respectively Ecuador and Honduras, their rivals in the section are no back numbers.
As representatives of South and Central America, a perceived advantage when it comes to dealing with the prevailing conditions could be behind the concertinaed qualification betting.
However, with the extreme temperatures of Manaus (where Switzerland must play Honduras) and Recife almost completely side-stepped, the Europeans shouldn’t wilt in the heat.
France have been particularly well treated, playing exclusively in the vast country’s southern-most reaches, considered to have a Europe-like climate.
Ecuador may be rated just four places below Les Bleus and 15 below the Swiss in the FIFA rankings, but their place in the standings is invariably bolstered by a supercharged home record.
Playing their CONMEBOL qualifying home games at an altitude of 2,782 metres allowed La Tri, naturally adept at playing in high altitude, to win all bar one of their home games.
Taking on their Group E foes closer to sea level is sure to have a detrimental effect on their chances, as Reinaldo Rueda’s side have won just one of their last 10 away games.
The Hondurans have drawn with Jamaica and Panama inside their last three competitive games and should struggle against their European adversaries.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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