Valencia focusing on French test

21 June 2014 06:02

Match-winner Enner Valencia and his Ecuador team-mates are now busy plotting how best to take down free-scoring France and secure a place in the World Cup's last 16.

The South Americans rallied from behind to beat Honduras 2-1 in Curitiba on Friday, Valencia scoring twice to turn the game on its head after Carlo Costly fired a first-half opener.

Should they beat France in their final Group E game they will progress to the knockout stages, barring a significant goal swing in Switzerland's favour.

Ottmar Hitzfeld's side also have three points but are two goals behind Ecuador on goal difference ahead of their meeting with Honduras.

Beating group leaders France will be no easy task, though, as Les Bleus have won two out of two games in stylish fashion, scoring eight goals and conceding only two in the process.

Pachuca forward Valencia and his cohorts will therefore spend the next few days looking for possible weak spots in the French system.

He told " Of course I'm very, very happy to have scored the goals because they helped us to win the match.

"We put everything on the line and we got three crucial points to keep our dream alive.

"We'll have to analyse France very closely to find out what the best way of playing against them is because they're a really strong team."

Ecuador's Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda agrees his charges will have to raise their games significantly in order to outwit Didier Deschamps' in-form France team.

"Both teams needed to win and both tried to play well," he said of the Honduras match. "Even though we went behind, we got our goals at decisive moments and that put us in charge of the match.

"We know that reaching the next round isn't entirely in our own hands but we need to focus on our own game.

"We'll have to play as well or even better than we did today to beat France because they're a side that have grown a lot in the last few months."

Despite emerging empty-handed from their opening games, Honduras retain an outside chance of qualifying.

That outcome would, however, be reliant on them beating the Swiss next week in Manaus, as well as other results going in their favour.

Boss Luis Suarez said: " It was a very hard-fought match. I think we had a bit of difficulty keeping our nerves in check given what was at stake in the game, but I'm satisfied with my team.

"We played well but they played a bit better: they had more of the ball, took more shots and got the goals.

"It was an improved performance after our first match and although it wasn't quite enough we can build on it for our next game.

"We know it'll be tough to reach the next round, but it'd be even worse to have been knocked out already.

"We need to find a way to improve in order to win and while there's hope, we won't give up without a fight."

Source: PA

Trending on the forum