GROUP E: SWITZERLAND vs. ECUADOR
Where: Brasilia. Time: 9 a.m. PDT. TV: ABC, Univision.
The buzz: Switzerland comes into this one ranked sixth in the world but still facing doubts about whether it's really that good after unimpressive warmup victories over Jamaica and Peru. Ecuador, led by Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, is playing for more than a scoreline. The loss of star striker Christian Benitez to cardiac arrest midway through South American qualifying has given the team something to rally around that may be greater than a World Cup.
GROUP E: FRANCE vs. HONDURAS
Where: Porto Alegre. Time: Noon PDT. TV: ABC, Univision.
The buzz: France, which has won only one of its last nine group-stage games in the World Cup, will be out to reverse that trend while also trying to erase the stench of an embarrassing 2010 World Cup that included a mutiny against Coach Raymond Domenech. But it will have to do that with midfield star Franck Ribery, who will sit out the World Cup because of a back problem. Honduras has had even more problems in the first round recently, having failed to score in its last four group-play games. It was bounced in 2010 after three consecutive shutouts.
GROUP F: ARGENTINA vs. BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA
Where: Rio de Janeiro. Time: 3 p.m. PDT. TV: ESPN, Univision.
The buzz: These are two teams chasing destiny. Deep and talented Argentina, among the tournament favorites, is trying to get a major title for Lionel Messi and Bosnia's multiethnic team, led by Bosniak Muslim striker Edin Dzeko of Manchester City, is hoping to use its first World Cup appearance as an independent nation to unite a homeland still riven by sectarian violence.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times