It is Match Day 4 at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. We preview the matches in Group E and F.
All eyes were on the Italy vs England match but the shock of the day came from Costa Rica. The Central American side beat one of the favourites Uruguay 3-1 in what proved to be the shocker of the day. Uruguay led by Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani took the led through Cavani's penalty but a Joel Campbell-inspired Costa Rica fought back to top group D.
For match-day four, the main match will see Argentina face newcomers Bosnia and Herzegovina at Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, also known as the Maracana, in Group F. Group E will see France face Honduras at Estadio Beira Rio while Switzerland meet Ecuador in the opening group E match. Can the lowly-rated Honduras and Bosnia and Herzegovina shock their more illustrious opponents? Here is the preview of the matches.
Argentina vs Bosnia and Herzegovina
Just like Brazil, Argentina is in an easy group and they are the favourites to go on top. In a group comprising Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria, the side led Alejandro Sabella will surely have no problem qualifying for the second round. Lionel Messi and company will face Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time in a World Cup and some might expect the Argentines to run riot against the Balkan nation. One advice - never ever underestimate the abilities of the Bosnians. Under Safet Susic, Bosnia has looked formidable with lots of players who ply their trade in top European leagues. Asmir Begovic is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. Veteran centre-back Emir Spahic will be partnered with Ermin Bicakcic. Mansur Mudzja and young wing-back Sead Kolasinac will be tasked to stop the likes of Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi. Their midfield quartet is one of the strongest in European football. Miralem Pjanic, Senad Lulic, Sejad Salihovic and Izet Hajrovic will be key in thwarting the Argentinian tempo and also create attacking opportunities for their forward. Edin Dzeko together with Vedad Ibisevic will be the main goal getters for Bosnia.
As for Argentina, Sergio Romero looks set to be the number one and he will be protected by the likes of Ezequiel Garay and Hugo Campagnaro. Pablo Zabaleta and Marcos Rojo will be the full-backs and if needed, they will help out their wingers. Javier Mascherano and Fernando Gago will be the pivots for Argentina while Lionel Messi will be given the freedom to create and score goals as the playmaker. Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel Di Maria will form the three-man partnership up-front. If Messi, Lavezzi, Aguero and Di Maria click, then Bosnia is in for a real tough game. However, Argentina's defence should also be cautious with Bosnia's attackers as the physical presence of Dzeko and Ibisevic can be tough to contain.
My prediction? Argentina to have a tough game but they will come out victors. Argentina to beat Bosnia 3-2.
France vs Honduras
France will have to banish their Euro 2012 demons and come strong in this tournament. France without the injured Frank Ribery is a breath of fresh air and it will be interesting to see how Didier Deschamps charter the fortunes of this team in Group E. Players like Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema and Yohan Cabaye will be key against Honduras and they have to work hand-in-hand to ensure that France will get a good start in Group E.
Honduras is labelled as one of the weakest teams in this tournament. The only established names are Wilson Palacios and Roger Espinoza but even then, they will find it tough against a talented French side. Luis Fernando Suarez knows that getting a point is a bonus but if you ask me, that's going to be tough for Honduras. France is going to have a stroll and I'm expecting them to thrash Honduras 4-0.
Switzerland vs Ecuador
Switzerland will face a tricky side in the form of Ecuador. France and Switzerland are favoured to qualify out of group E. By beating Ecuador, Ottmar Hitzfield knows that his team is up for the World Cup challenge. The midfield battle will be interesting to watch. The likes of Xerdan Shaqiri, Gokhan Inler, Granot Xhaka and Valon Behrami will have to be at their best to beat Ecuador. Edison Mendez, Antonio Valencia, Cristian Noboa and Renato Ibarra are talented and if they click, they can be dangerous. This team is also familiar with the South American conditions and that would be an advantage for them. However, having a coach like Hitzfield in our side, Switzerland looks set to be the favourites for this tie. Switzerland to beat Ecuador 2-0.