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France’s history suggests Switzerland can spring a World Cup surprise

| 12.02.2014

Those punters looking a for bit of early value in the World Cup betting this summer could do worse than take note of France’s recent group stage record and side with Switzerland to cause an upset and win Group E.

France are the 8/11 favourites to top a group that sees the Latin American pair Honduras and Ecuador join Switzerland in standing in the way of Didier Deschamp’s side and first position, but the 9/4 about the Swiss upsetting the odds could be a decent punt come the start of June.

Since being crowned world champions on home soil in 1998, France have enjoyed mixed fortunes on the world’s biggest stage.

Penalty kicks away from winning the 2006 tournament in Germany – Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt and all that – both of Les Blues’ campaigns either side of that night of heartbreak against Italy have been disastrous and France need to earn punters’ trust before going in at 8/11.

In both 2002 and 2010, France finished bottom of their group, amassing just one point and managing a meagre solitary goal over the two tournaments.

Even in 2006 France did not top their group, winning just one game against Togo and scraping through at South Korea’s expense by one point and Deschamps could have his work cut out to overcome the mental scars of just one win in France’s last nine World Cup group matches.

France’s recent struggles are nothing new: in the 11 tournaments Les Blues have competed in where a group stage was contested, they have won their section just twice and look opposable in Brazil.

Ecuador (9/2) and Honduras (25/1) don’t look to have enough to top the group, but Switzerland are in good enough form to take advantage of any France wobble.

Omar Hitzfeld’s side breezed through qualifying, remaining unbeaten in winning their group by seven points and with a fine blend of youth and experience are more than capable of springing a surprise.