Your round up of every team playing in Russia 2018 continues with Group E. You can catch all the action live at Topgolf.
Under Tite, Brazil have all but banished the ghost of their 7-1 drubbing vs Germany in 2014. Thanks to the emergence of Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus, the Selecao are less reliant on star man Neymar than before; should the PSG front man suffer injury this time, there’s enough firepower spread throughout the squad to support him.
Source: Neymar Contra Uruguai by Danilo Borges is licensed by CC 3.0
Of course, the likes of David Luiz and Thiago Silva in defence mean that while Brazil have returned to their authentic flair of yesteryear, it will be no mean feat to break them down at the back. And if they do run into trouble, Roberto Firmino and Willian are ideal impact subs. Expect them to qualify from the group stage with ease – and revive the magic of Jogo Bonito along the way.
Switzerland qualified for their fourth World Cup by finishing second in their group to Portugal and are expected to make it to the last sixteen as a minimum. Premier League fans will recognise the likes of Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka- but there’s much more to them than that.
Source: AUT vs SUI by Steindy is licensed by CC 3.0
Steven Zuber is as unpredictable a winger as Shaqiri and the two are backed up by dangerous wing-backs in Ricardo Rodriguez and Stephan Lichsteiner, who played a vital part in Juventus’ Champions League victory against Tottenham. With exciting Borussia Monchengladbach prospect Denis Zakaria complementing the wide players in central midfield, Switzerland could become the neutral’s favorite.
Costa Rica were a surprise package in 2014 (remember Joel Campbell?), beating Italy, Uruguay and Greece on their way to the quarter-finals. Los Ticos will believe they can repeat the trick this tournament too, having achieved qualification with two games to spare.
Source: Uruguay – Costa Rica FIFA World Cup 2014 by Danilo Borges is licensed by CC 3.0
Continuity has been key to Los Ticos’ success; coach Oscar Ramirez has persisted with the 4-5-1 that served Costa Rica so effectively in Brazil. Ex-Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz is the main point of attack, with Celso Borges looks to influence play from midfield. The star man however, is undoubtedly Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Despite winning 9 of their ten qualifiers and topping their group ahead of Wales and the Rupublic of Ireland, Serbia sacked Head Coach Slavoljub Muslin due to disagreements between himself and the Serbian FA over playing style and team selection.
Source: The Serbia national football is licensed by Biso is licensed by GNU FDL 1.2
Following Muslin’s sacking, star player Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio was recalled to the fold and has since impressed with flair-filled displays in friendly matches. Elsewhere, cult hero Aleksander Mitrovic leads the line up top and fellow former Premier League players Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Vidic feature in a solid defence.
GROUP E FIXTURES LIVE AT TOPGOLF
Costa Rica vs Serbia 17/06 KO 1PM
Brazil vs Switzerland 17/06 KO 7PM
Brazil vs Costa Rica 22/06 KO 1PM
Serbia vs Switzerland 22/06 KO 7PM
Serbia vs Brazil 27/06 KO 7PM
Switzerland vs Costa Rica 27/06 7PM