France will look to put their disappointing 2010 World Cup behind them when they face Honduras in Group E on Sunday in Porto Alegre.
Despite a talent-rich squad, France suffered from deep internal turmoil with head coach Raymond Domenech in South Africa. The team failed to advance out of their group, and strife between teammates and their coach dominated headlines prior to their early exit.
The 2014 World Cup is expected to be different. Domenech is out, and Didier Deschamps is in. The former France defensive midfielder, who starred in the 1998 World Cup for the champions, has picked a rather young squad to represent Les Bleus. Deschamps knows that France, who are favorites to advance out of Group E, can't take underdog Honduras lightly.
"The difficulty of the first game also comes into it, with the different levels of preparation," Deschamps said. "Brazil's first match wasn't easy against Croatia, either, and ours won't be easy."
France will have plenty of talent out to prove themselves in Brazil. Newcomers Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Digne are expected to step up with the bright spotlight on them. Veteran Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery will be out of action due to injury.
Honduras enter the tournament with few marquee players. Head coach Luis Fernando Suarez will have 11 men on his roster who play in the Honduras league, and four who play in Major League Soccer.
Los Catrachos, who finished third in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, have three key players to watch for. Roger Espinoza of Wigan Athletic, Andy Najar of Anderlecht, and Carlo Costly of Real Espana in the Honduras league are expected to lead the attack. Jerry Bengston, who features for the New England Revolution, is also crucial to Honduras's goal-scoring chances.
Honduras failed to get a win a match in 2010, but is expected to have a stronger run this time around. Group E, which also features Ecuador and Switzerland, is considered the "Group of Life," with all four nations having a strong chance to advance.
Start Time: Sunday, 3 p.m. EST
TV Channel: ABC
Live Online Stream: A live online stream is available at Watch ESPN here
Betting Odds: France by 1.5
Prediction: France over Honduras, 2-0