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New faces offer familiar French threat, says Rueda

Reinaldo Rueda, the Ecuador head coach, has taken little comfort from the expectation that France will rest a number of their regular starters tonight.

The Group E rivals face each other in the Maracana with the South Americans likely to require a victory to be certain of reaching the last 16 of the competition.

The French are able to feel far more comfortable after winning in their opening two matches and are likely to make changes to their starting XI. One of those alterations will not be made by choice since Yohan Cabaye is suspended, while Raphael Varane, Patrice Evra and Mathieu Debuchy may not feature. Mathieu Valbuena is also a doubt for the match.

"The only thing we know for sure is the suspended player," said Rueda. "Whoever plays, they will be elite, top-level players. They can be more dangerous because they will be looking to earn their place in the team."

France are almost certain to advance from the group having taken the opportunity to flex their muscles in Brazil. Ecuador are in a more precarious position having taken three points from their two games - the same as Switzerland - and could be pipped to second place by the Swiss on goal difference, even if they beat the French.

Rueda expects to field a team largely unchanged from that which won against Honduras in their last match, although there could be a couple of tactical alterations made in an effort to thwart the in-form French forwards.

Should the European side top their group then they are likely to avoid Group F leaders Argentina and will instead face either Nigeria or Iran in the last 16.

"We need to avoid taking our foot off the gas even if there is not a huge amount at stake," said Debuchy, who plays for club side Newcastle United. "We want to win and maintain our positive dynamic in order to prepare well for what is to come."

France have been free-scoring so far and Debuchy is enjoying the positive mind set of his side. "The thing I love is our attacking play, it's great to be part of it," he added. "It is great to play in this side. I want to play against Ecuador but that is up to the coach to decide."

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