France’s ability to maintain harmony among most pressing questions in Group E

France can overcome their recent record of disappointing World Cups, provided they are able to get along with each other

France coach Didier Deschamps walks to attend a news conference at the team training centre of Clairefontaine on June 6, 2014. Charles Platiau / Reuters
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Can France finally be greater than the sum of their parts?

Since their victory on home soil in 1998, France have disappointed at World Cups – 2006 aside – despite typically boasting an incredibly talented set of individuals. This time, armed arguably with their finest squad in years, they are in the capable hands of pragmatist Didier Deschamps. At last the French can do themselves justice. Quarter-finals = success.

One-word answer: Yes.

Will Ecuador be able to cope without Christian Benitez?

The death from heart failure of Christian Benitez last summer will no doubt serve as extra motivation in Brazil. However, the striker was the country's focal point in attack, their leading scorer and an inspiration in the dressing room, and Ecuador have struggled in competitive matches since his death.

One-word answer: No.

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Can this young Switzerland side, in their manager’s words, “shock the world”?

Since a 2010 World Cup campaign that began with a blast – they defeated Spain – and then fizzled out, the Swiss have had an extreme makeover. Reliable old hands have gone, with new, exciting talents replacing them. This is their most promising side for some time, but a last-16 place is all they are likely to muster.

One-word answer: No.

Can Honduras score enough to cause an upset?

Dogged in defence, the Hondurans failed to score in three matches in 2010 to finish bottom of their group. That should be their Achilles' heel again. In Carlos Costly, Jerry Bengston, Jerry Palacios and Rony Martinez, they have able strikers, but none have produced on the grand stage. Leaving behind fan favourite Jonathan Mejia may prove costly.

One-word answer: No.

Can the French squad get along?

The controversial and high-profile decision to omit Samir Nasri was taken to ensure harmony in the squad, an issue Raymond Domenech chose to neglect four years ago. France paid the price and the infighting continued under Laurent Blanc. So Deschamps dropped the outspoken Nasri, his most creative midfielder, as he could not guarantee keeping him happy. France should benefit.

One-word answer: Yes.

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