France and Switzerland are divided by a border, while Ecuador and Honduras are united by Colombian coaches: Reinaldo Rueda and Luis Suarez respectively.
Ironically, Rueda was the coach of Honduras at the last FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but now he finds himself in charge of La Tri, while Luis Suarez lead Ecuador to the Round of 16 at Germany in 2006. The two sides meeting at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba on Friday 20 June.
The coaching duo reflect on being brought together with their former teams, while France’s Didier Deschamps and Switzerland Ottmar Hitzfeld both appear to be in confident mood.
Ottmar Hitzfeld, Switzerland
It’s a very close and level group with different mentalities. European teams facing teams from South America and from Central America. I think it's a very interesting group to play in. France is a very effective opponent, but there’s no need to complain. We must use the time that we have to prepare for the conditions that we are going to face.
Reinaldo Rueda, Ecuador
I was the coach of Honduras in 2010 and now destiny makes me face them with Ecuador. That’s football, and that’s life! They have a great group of human beings in their squad, which I experienced at the World Cup in South Africa. They will be difficult opponents. As for Switzerland and France, despite the fact of them both being European, both of them have different styles. It’ll be a very challenging group.
Didier Deschamps, France
It could have been more complicated, let’s be honest. We’ll have our Swiss neighbours, one South American team and Honduras playing a similar style of football. We were worried about playing in the north because of the heat. And we’re not, so it’s better for our recuperation. The first game is against Honduras, it’s the most important one, winning it would put us in the best position. No opponent is easy; we need to be ambitious but realistic. Before and after the draw our objective is the same: reach the Round of 16.
Luis Suarez, Honduras
I’m leaving with a good taste in my mouth, with one exception: I didn’t want to face Ecuador. Not only for Reinaldo (Rueda) but also for the country: it means a lot to me. Ecuador helped me to develop my career, I owe them many things. But anyway, draws are like that. We’ll try to face this situation as real professionals. We want to reach the next round.