Switzerland vs Ecuador
Kickoff 11am CT
Switzerland - The Swiss have had a good team for a few years, their weakness was the fact that they didn't have a real goalscorer. I think most of us felt that way before the start of the season, it now looks like Josip Drmic is the man to fill that void. He had a great season in Germany, and I'm surprised that Arsenal didn't make a move for him, especially as he moved for a low transfer fee. I can't wait to see Shaqiri play, he looks like he could be a real star, I'm not sure if he will get to fulfill his potential at Bayern. I've seen Xhaka play a handful of times, and he looks like a very tidy player. And then remember that they have Inler and Behrami in deep midfield roles, they have a nice midfield. They have a solid defence, it will be interesting to see how their full backs cope with Ecuador's wingers. I have to admit that I am a big fan of the left back Rodriguez, I've been impressed with him when I have seen him play.
Ecuador - I don't know too much about Ecuador, and I could be completely wrong about them. I don't think they have the quality to get out of the group. I can't see them getting through to the knockout stages like they did in 2006. Antonio Valencia will need to be in better form for his national team than he was for his club team, that injury a few seasons back was very unfortunate. I watched one of their recent games and was impressed with their left winger, Jefferson Montero, and it is clear that they are going to be relying on their two wingers. They will need Caicedo to be in fine form.
France vs Honduras
Kickoff 2pm CT
France - It must have been devastating for Ribery, being ruled out of the tournament with only a week to go, he might never play in another World Cup & that is a great shame. I think this team will do well and will survive without him. That's not to say that they won't miss his world-class ability. They look like they have gotten past the internal issues that have harmed the squad at previous tournaments. I can't wait to see how Paul Pogba performs. Juventus were very smart to take him from Man Utd. He looks like the midfielder that ManUtd have been missing for years. He has everything you want from a midfielder. He has the intelligence and physical attributes to make him a tremendous ball winning midfielder, and then add his attacking play, control, intelligence etc - I would be shocked if Paul Pogba isn't one of the best players on the planet by the time World Cup 2018 comes around.Then add Matuidi and Cabaye to the midfield, that is a great midfield. I am expecting Benzema to start on the left & Giroud to start as the centre forward. I am hoping that Benzema starts as the centre forward and Griezmann gets a chance to take that left wing slot, I was very impressed with his performance for Sociedad this season. I am a big fan of the players they have available at the back. Lloris is one of the best keepers in the world. Sagna and Debuchy are quality full-backs, and Evra looked decent this season. I don't know too much about Mangala or Digne. I like Sakho, I think he is a very promising defender and has so much room to grow.Varane is going to be one of the best in the world. And I can't believe how good Koscielny has become. This French squad could go far if they stay focused.
Honduras - aka Oscar Boniek Garcia's team. I'll be paying special attention to this group. OBG is representing his country. I love watching Boniek, his energy reminds me of Ramires. I think he's very underrated, and I believe he could surprise quite a few people. Honduras have one of the weaker squads on paper, and they will need to make sure that they work hard to make up for that. They do have some very good players in Palacios, Espinoza, Figueroa, Bengtson etc - I am hoping that they can shock the world and get out of the group!
Argentina vs Bosnia and Herzegovina
Kickoff 5pm CT
Argentina - What a squad Argentina have. And to think that Tevez didn't even make the squad! (I know that wasn't because of football reasons, but how he could disrupt squad harmony). Argentina also have one of my favourite defenders, Pablo Zabaleta, he's been fantastic for the last few seasons. I also like the look of Garay, you can see why Real Madrid spent money on him when he was younger, he just wasn't ready for that level. I've been very impressed with his performances for Benfica. The rest of the team is superb. Mascherano is an excellent defensive midfielder, Gago is a very good playmaker and will make some great passes from deep if he is given time on the ball. Di Maria was absolutely outstanding for Real Madrid. He is now one of my favourite players, I love how creative he is on the ball & how he likes to dribble at and past players. Then we get onto the 2 strikers and the man with a free-role. Higuain and Aguero as a strike combination should be deadly, especially in this group. And then we remember that the player many consider to be the best in the world is going to be on the pitch in a roaming role. The question Messi always faces is whether he can perform on an international stage, and I really hope he can shut up any of those doubters. Argentina could win the World Cup, I see them getting to the final.
Bosnia - I don't know the majority of the Bosnian squad, but I think they will get out of this group as they do have quality players . I'm a big fan of Asmir Begovic, I still remember watching him play for Portsmouth, I had no idea how good he was. He's been fantastic for Stoke. They have a superb striker in Edin Dzeko. He can't be happy with his role at Man City over the last few seasons, but he had a good end to the season and he can be superb in front of goal. Ibisevic is a solid partner/deputy. The most important player in this squad is Pjanic, a fantastic attacking midfielder. I am a big fan of his technical ability, especially his passing ability. And I am happy to see Kolasinac being linked with good teams, he is a very good defender (left back), though I think he would make a fantastic defensive midfielder.