2018 World Cup Group E Preview
Brazil are definitely will win Group E ahead of Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica. The five time World Champions under Tite. The Swiss are well placed to qualify while Costa Rica’s could be do some shocking result after a strong campaign in Brazil four years ago.
Brazil have appeared in every World Cup tournament since 1930 and are always among the favourites. The 2014 World Cup on home soil ended in disaster after a 7-1 semi-final thrashing at the hands of Germany, with many supporters expecting too much, it have resulted too much pressure on the players.
Since Tite took over they have lost once in 19 matches, scoring 42 goals and conceding just five. South American qualification shows that they finished 10 points ahead of second-placed Uruguay and a recent 1-0 friendly win against Germany will give a lot of confidence boost.
Tite has make Brazil difficult to break down with an organised defence, a resilient midfield while retaining their attacking flair. Neymar will be vital to their chances of success.
Brazil’s squad is significantly stronger than the previous two World Cups. There are stars all over the pitch and depth in every position. It goes without saying that Brazil should win Group E with relative ease.
Switzerland have featured in almost ten times in World Cups but never once get past the quarter-finals. They reached the round of 16 in Brazil before losing 1-0 against Argentina
. The Swiss won nine of their 10 games in qualifying but finished behind Portugal.
Manager Vladimir Petkovic guiding this team to the round of 16 at Euro 2016 where they were eliminated by Poland in a penalty shootout. His squad is experienced and settled with Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ricardo Rodriguez, Blerim Dzemaili, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri leading the way with emerging youngsters Manuel Akanji and Breel Embolo.
Switzerland are currently ranked 8th in the FIFA World Ranking, one spot above France and one behind Spain. This Group is going to be tough and an opening game against Brazil will really tested them out. They certainly have an advantage against Costa Rica in terms of technical ability, but they are extremely similar to Serbia.
Serbia reached the World Cup in 2010 but failed to qualify for Brazil 2014. The Serbian failed to qualify for the last three major tournaments but got their act together for Russia 2018, losing just one game and finishing top of their group of Republic of Ireland, Wales, and Austria.
Former manager Slavoljub Muslin was controversially sacked after securing Serbia’s place in Russia for being his defensive tactics and questionable team selections. 44-year-old rookie manager Mladen Krstajic took over in January and only time will tell if he can get the best out of an experienced and talented squad.
Defenders Branislav Ivanovic and captain Aleksandar Kolarov provide leadership alongside Nemanja Matic and Dusan Tadic. Serbia’s strength could come from a big and strong central midfield, with Matic joined by Luka Milivojevic and Lazio’s emerging 23-year-old star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has been in solid form for Fulham in the Championship, but with a rookie manager in Krstajic and a difficult group, Serbia may need things to go their way if they are to reach the knockout stage in Russia.
Costa Rica were one of underdog in Brazil 2014 as they finished top of their group which included Uruguay and European heavyweights Italy and England. Costa Rica qualified for their fifth World Cup since 1990 after finishing second behind Mexico.
Costa Rica is one of the oldest and experienced in Russia with most of his expected starting lineup having made more than 60 international appearances. Led by captain Bryan Ruíz, Celso Borges and Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, Los Ticos will rely on hard work, frustrating their opponents and hitting them on the counter-attack.
Brazil are obvious candidates to win Group E but will need to becareful with the likes of a strong and organised Switzerland. Serbia have a good squad but lack goal scoring threat while Costa Rica’s may gave another shock as in Brazil 2014.
Finish bottom of Group E: Costa Rica at 1.70