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Looking for a dark horse to make the final? France.

Sure, the French put the “fun” in dysfunction with their petty squabbling and early exit in South Africa, then needed a playoff just to get to Brazil. But they’re leading a charmed life now after landing in Group E, one of the most favorable draws of the day. The French must play Switzerland, considered the lightweight of the seeded teams, Ecuador and Honduras.

Best of all, they have no long-haul trips to the north, making their group-stage travel look more like an easy commute compared to the treks some teams are making.

“It’s rather good news,” France coach Didier Deschamps acknowledged.



Looking for a team to follow _ literally? You can’t go wrong with Ghana or Mexico.

Both might struggle to make it out of group play, but that won’t matter. They each have games in Natal and Fortaleza, two of the most scenic host cities.

In fact, early exits might be preferable. All the more time to enjoy the beach.