2018 World Cup: Group E Preview

Brazil ($1.03) will be on a quest for redemption when they commence their World Cup campaign in Russia. The Seleção are red-hot favourites to win Group E and will be desperate to redeem themselves, after crashing out to eventual champions Germany in a 7-1 semi-final defeat in Brazil.

Serbia ($1.95) are next on the line to qualify for the knock-out stage of the tournament and they’ll have a fight on their hands with Switzerland ($2) and Costa Rica ($3.75) also backing themselves to finish in the second qualifying place, behind Brazil.

While Brazil is expected to win Group E, there is a case to be made for the three remaining countries to qualify for the next round in what will be one of the most entertaining Pools of the tournament.

Suggested Bet: Exacta of Brazil to finish 1st and Serbia to finish 2nd @ $3.75

 

Brazil

Brazilian coach Tite, revitalised the landscape of the national team and restored confidence in a side that was in danger of missing the plane to Russia, with the side sitting in sixth place in the South American qualifiers. Under the new coach the side has been revitalised and became one of the first nations to qualify for the 2018 tournament.

Like Messi for Argentina and Ronaldo for Portugal, Brazil’s fortunes will rest on the fitness of Neymar. The Brazilian number 10 comes into the tournament under an injury cloud but will be desperate to lift the title.

Unlike 2014 tournament, Neymar will have help this time from Barcelona’s Phillipe Coutinho and Manchester City talisman Gabriel Jesus.

Brazil have quality across the park and are a far more balanced team than the 2014 version that lost to Germany.

Brazil will be relieved to be back in Europe, the scene of one of their first Cup triumphs. One of the favourites for the tournament, Brazil should have no issues winning Group E.

First Match: vs Switzerland (Monday, 18th June 4AM AEST)

Serbia 

Serbia will be making their 12th journey to the World Cup in 2018 and are underrated side packed with quality players. The White Eagles are well placed to progress from the group stage for the first time since the 1998 tournament in France.

Former Manchester City fullback Aleksandar Kolarov leads a side that is experienced at club level and includes former Chelsea players Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic. While Serbia lacks pace across the backline their midfield also includes Lazio playmaker Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

If striker Aleksandar Mitrovic can replicate his club form on the world’s biggest stage, he could find himself in the running for the Golden Boot Award. The striker was prolific in qualifying with a return of six goals for the Eagles.

While Brazil are clearly a class above the competition in Group E, Serbia are third in the line of betting ($9) to win the group and are well placed at $1.95 to qualify in second spot.

First Match: vs Costa Rica ( Sunday, 17th June 10PM AEST)

Switzerland 

The Swiss were able to able to edge Northern Ireland in a playoff to make the 2018 tournament in Russia and the odds are stacked against them to progress beyond the group stage.

Switzerland won’t be short of attacking options in their squad with Xherdan Shaqiri leading the midfield and their captain Juventus back Stephan Lichtsteiner patrolling the right flank.

The Swiss team lack a finisher with Joip Drmic struggling in the Bundesliga and youngster Breel Embolo still to realise his potential for Schalke.

The Swiss are a realistic chance of defeating both Costa Rica and Serbia and are third on the line of betting at $2 to qualify from the group.

First Match: vs Brazil (Monday, 18th June 4AM AEST)

Costa Rica

The Costa Ricans were the feel-good story of the 2014 tournament, advancing to the quarter-finals before losing to the Dutch on penalties.

The Costa Ricans meet Brazil in the group stage for the third time and will face an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.

Los Ticos will be relying on the leadership of Real Madrid shot-stopper Keylor Navas to marshal the side to replicate their giant-killing effort from the 2014 tournament.

Costa Rica are favourites to finish bottom of the group at $1.72 and there’s a clear gulf in class between their squad and the rest of their competition in Group E

First Match: vs Serbia ( Sunday, 17th June 10PM AEST)