Group E features the most consistent side in the history of the tournament itself, Brazil; the surprise package from 2014, Costa Rica; a Switzerland hungry to progress into the quarterfinals, and a Serbia keen to blood in its young stars alongside its experienced heads.

Soccer World Cup Group E Predictions

MATCH SCHEDULE & CURRENT ODDS*

Date Venue Team Odds   Team Odds Odds
17-Jun-18 Samara Costa Rica 3.18 v Serbia 0.99 Draw  2.27
17-Jun-18 Rostov Brazil 0.37 v Switzerland 9.42 Draw  3.80
22-Jun-18 St Petersburg Brazil 0.23 v Costa Rica 10.22 Draw  4.58
22-Jun-18 Kaliningrad Serbia 1.81 v Switzerland 1.56 Draw  2.00
27-Jun-18 Moscow Serbia 7.66 v Brazil 0.34 Draw  3.54
27-Jun-18 Nizhny Novgorod Switzerland 0.78 v Costa Rica 3.48 Draw  2.40


PROFILE: BRAZIL
 

Brazil Prediction World Cup

FIFA Ranking 2nd World Cup Base Location Sochi
How they qualified Finished 1st in CONMEDOL Qualifying Group ahead of Uruguay
Form in 2017/18: Played 8, Won 5, Drawn 3, (includes 4 friendlies)

 

World Cup Record: 20 Tournaments, 5 World Cup titles (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
Played 104 Draws 17 Scored 221 Penalty Shootout Wins
Wins 70 Losses 17 Conceded 102 3 out of 4

 

Group Stage Round of 16 Quarterfinal Semifinal Final
1930, 1966 1934*, 1982, 1990 1954, 1986, 2006, 2010 1938, 1974*, 1978, 2014 1950, 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 1998, 2002

 

World Cup Head to Head Records:
vs Costa Rica: Played 2, Won 2 Last Match: Won 5-2, 2002 Group Stage
vs Serbia: Never played against them in World Cup competition
vs Switzerland: Played 1, Drawn 1 Last Match: Drew 2-2, 1950 Group Stage

 

Various Odds of Interest
Outright Winner 4.75, 2nd favourite Group E Winner 0.25, favourite
To Reach Final No (0.30), Yes (2.25) Elimination Stage Round of 16 (2.50)
Top Goalscorer Neymar (1.00), De Jesus (2.50), Paulinho / Costa / Coutinho (9.00)

 

Often the favourite of neutrals, Brazil come into the tournament in far better spirits thanks to the massive swing in form brought by new manager Tite. His tactical shift to the 4-1-4-1 shape was a masterstroke, assisting in 9 consecutive wins to qualify the record holders to Russia. Brazil come into the tournament once again as the only nation to have played in every single tournament.

Brazil’s base camp of Sochi is one of the more remotely located options, particularly given its proximity (or lack thereof) to the core locales of St. Petersburg and Moscow in the tournament’s latter stages. Their first game is Rostov is far lighter on the travel distance, but the intriguing match in travelling respects will be their second game against Costa Rica, who have the fortune of playing that game in the same city as their base camp.

Neymar Brazil World CupBrazil appear unusually light on depth, so their first XI weapons will need to deliver on the goods across the tournament. Their fullbacks Dani Alves and Marcelo are amongst the best in the tournament, and considerable defensive protection is afforded by emerging star keeper Allison and Real Madrid anchor Casemiro. If the Samba kings are to win the tournament though, it will fall to the creative talents of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho to build form by scaring opposition defences early on.

Soccer World Cup Prediction: 1st in Group E, with an exit in the semifinal

Brazil are a force of footballing nature when playing well, and the team’s generally good balance should dictate a comfortable navigation of the group, even given the concerns that Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland could generate. The depth is lacking beyond the talents of Roberto Firmino and Ederson, so Brazil will be intent to keep the core XI fit for purpose to progress deep into the competition. But it’s likely that their deeper European counterparts will find this particular issue of greater squad options easier to navigate in the crucial games at the end.  To that end, a semifinal exit beckons, most likely to France. 

PROFILE: SWITZERLAND

Switzerland Flag

FIFA Ranking 8th World Cup Base Location Togliatti
How they qualified Beat Northern Ireland 1-0 over two legs in the Qualification playoff after finishing 2nd in UEFA Qualifying Group B behind Portugal
Form in 2017/18: Played 8, Won 6, Drawn 1, Lost 1 (includes 2 friendlies)

 

World Cup Record: 10 Tournaments
Played 33 Draws 6 Scored 45 Penalty Shootout Wins
Wins 11 Losses 16 Conceded 59 0 out of 1

 

Group Stage Round of 16 Quarterfinal Semifinal Final
1950, 1962, 1966, 2010 1994, 2006, 2014 1934, 1938, 1954

 

World Cup Head to Head Records:
vs Brazil: Played 1, Drawn 1 Last Match: Drew 2-2, 1950 Group Stage
vs Serbia: Never played against them in World Cup competition
vs Costa Rica: Never played against them in World Cup competition

 

Various Odds of Interest
Group E Winner 5.75, 2nd favourite Group E – 2nd Place 1.55
Top Goalscorer Seferovic (3.00), Drmic (5.00), Mehmedi (6.00), Shaqiri / Embolo (8.00)

 

The Swiss were near spotless in qualifying, winning 9 on the trot before a crucial defeat away in Portugal relegated them to the playoffs on goal difference. It will be new coach Vladimir Petkovic’s debut in World Cup competition, and he’ll be hard pressed to continue Switzerland’s trend of good results against more favoured opponents; in 2006 they drew 0-0 against eventual finalists France and beat eventual champions Spain in the group opener of 2010.

Switzerland’s base of Tolgatti isn’t too remote, but still represents lengthy trips for their matches against Serbia and Costa Rica. The former puts the Swiss at a massive disadvantage, since Serbia are based in Kaliningrad, so they’ll have no travel concerns. Should Switzerland qualify from the group in 2nd as most expect, their reward would be a lengthy traversal north to play the winners of Group F, most likely to be Germany.

Stephan LichtsteinerSwitzerland don’t lack for players of quality; many of their squad are first teamers at some of Europe’s bigger and more illustrious clubs. In both fullbacks, they have solid defence and effective attack in decorated veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus) and rising star Ricardo Rodriguez (AC Milan). Defensive midfield anchor Granit Xhaka will need to improve on his performances from the recent campaign with Arsenal, but with good defensive capabilities in centre backs like Fabian Schar and keeper Yann Sommer, the issue with the Swiss once again is goalscoring. Erratic forward Haris Seferovic was top scorer during their qualifying campaign, but has proven himself unreliable on the whole.

Read More: 12 Awesome Soccer World Cup Facts

Soccer World Cup Prediction: 3rd in Group E, unless Seferovic or others fix the goals

The entire Russian tournament will likely prejudice all sides relatively equally due to travel concerns, but it is considerably unfortunate that Switzerland will need to travel over 2,000 km for their crucial 2nd group game against Serbia, who don’t need to get on a plane for that match. Switzerland have some tremendous players that are capable of strangling opponents, but goals are needed to progress in the World Cup, and it is in attack that the Swiss options begin to run fairly thin. Unless others can pick up the goals where Seferovic fails to deliver, the Swiss face another Group Stage exit. 

PROFILE: SERBIA

Serbia Flag

FIFA Ranking 37th World Cup Base Location Kaliningrad
How they qualified Finished 1st in UEFA Qualifying Group D ahead of the Republic of Ireland
Form in 2017/18: Played 8, Won 5, Drawn 1, Lost 2 (includes 4 friendlies)

 

World Cup Record: 11 Tournaments
Played 43 Draws 8 Scored 64 Penalty Shootout Wins
Wins 17 Losses 18 Conceded 59 0 of 1

 

Group Stage Round of 16 Quarterfinal Semifinal Final
1950, 1982, 2006, 2010 1974*, 1998 1954, 1958, 1990 1930, 1962

 

World Cup Head to Head Records:
vs Brazil: Never played against them in World Cup competition
vs Switzerland: Never played against them in World Cup competition
vs Costa Rica: Never played against them in World Cup competition

 

Various Odds of Interest
Group E Winner 7.50, 3rd highest Group E – 2nd Place 1.75
Top Goalscorer Mitrovic (1.50), Tadic (5.00), Gacinovic (6.00), Kostic (6.00)

 

Serbia’s 8 year hiatus from the World Cup was ended in a tricky qualifying group, but changes nonetheless were called in as playing style and player selection caused the installation of Mladen Krstajic as caretaker manager for Serbia following the campaign presided by Slavoljub Muslin. Serbia are a side filled with veterans and young starlets, and they’ll be hopeful to pip more favoured Switzerland to 2nd place in the group.

Serbia’s base of Kaliningrad is a bitter sweet pill for their group stage campaign; the opener against Costa Rica represents the greatest risk, as they’ll move across a number of time zones to meet the central Americans in Samara. The massive advantage of their base comes in their crucial 2nd match against Switzerland, which takes place in Kaliningrad itself.

Serbia Soccer World CupSerbia’s squad is juxtaposed with experienced winners like Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolarov and Nemanja Matic, but it’s the young prospects that make them an unpredictable entity and exciting to watch. The frontline is well led by top scorer in qualifying Aleksandar Mitrovic, and goals and creativity are well supported by established options like Dusan Tadic and Adem Ljajic, or breakthrough prospects like the versatile Andrija Zivkovic. But most intriguingly is the attacking threat of star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who didn’t feature at all in the qualifying campaign due to issues with the former manager.

Soccer World Cup Prediction: 2nd in Group E, unless internal issues implode the team’s harmony

On principle, the relative inexperience in World Cup competition should count against Serbia, especially when compared to the more consistent opponents of Switzerland, or even Costa Rica. But Serbia have a number of players whose technical ability and creativity make them a very dangerous prospect to play against. In a tournament where defensive capabilities are valuable, but goals win the day, it’s these attacking characteristics that could make Serbia uncomfortable to face.  As such, they’ve got the potential to pip Switzerland to 2nd in this group, ahead of a likely round of 16 exit. 

PROFILE: COSTA RICA

Costa Rica Prediiction

FIFA Ranking 26th World Cup Base Location St. Petersburg
How they qualified Finished 2nd in CONCACAF Qualifying ahead behind Mexico
Form in 2017/18: Played 12, Won 5, Drawn 3, Lost 4 (includes 3 friendlies)

 

World Cup Record: 4 Tournaments
Played 15 Draws 4 Scored 17 Penalty Shootout Wins
Wins 5 Losses 6 Conceded 23 1 of 2

 

Group Stage Round of 16 Quarterfinal Semifinal Final
2002, 2006 1990 2014

 

World Cup Head to Head Records:
vs Brazil: Played 2, Lost 2 Last Match: Lost 2-5, 2002 Group Stage
vs Switzerland: Never played against them in World Cup competition
vs Serbia: Never played against them in World Cup competition

 

Various Odds of Interest
Group E Winner 17.25, worst in group Qualify from Group Yes (3.50)
Top Goalscorer Campbell / Ruiz (4.00), Bolanos / Urena (6.00)

 

Almost every World Cup produces a surprise, and in 2014, Costa Rica took this particular role to heart, topping a group including three previous World Cup winners (Uruguay, Italy and England), and only giving up a shock place in the semifinals through a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to the Netherlands. Qualifying was impressive once again, but a repeat of their heroics from 4 years ago seems unlikely… or does it?

Of all the teams in Group E, Costa Rica’s travel demands are the most reasonable. Their trip to Samara for their opening game is a few hundred km less than their opponents Serbia. Their second game against group favourites Brazil is in St. Petersburg, where Costa Rica’s training base resides. Their final game in Nizhny Novgorod is a closer trip for their opponents Switzerland, but only by a few hundred km.

Bryan RuizCosta Rica’s team lacks the household names of Europe, but this probably suits them better to upset the apple cart. Superstar keeper Keylor Navas enjoyed a massive upturn in his career fortunes since the World Cup with his heroics in 2014 gaining him the move to Real Madrid, where he’s established himself as number 1. Captain Bryan Ruiz is coming off a tame season in Portugal, so manager Oscar Ramirez may be more anxious for attacking support from veteran midfielder Celso Borges, pacy forward Marco Urena, and the versatile talents of Joel Campbell.

Soccer World Cup Prediction: 4th in Group E, but similar was said in 2014…

Costa Rica are a side full of expectation, and an easier group on paper compared to the demands palced on them in 2014 won’t limit optimism. Costa Rica’s tactical philosophies will be well suited to keeping the Swiss unable to score, and Serbia’s attacking prowess frustrated. But whether this actually happens in practice remains to be seen, and if Costa Rica do in fact manage to qualify 2nd, they’d likely have to face the defending champions in the Round of 16 to match their quarterfinal appearance from 2014. Unless they repeat their feat of 2014 and win the group too, but that would imply preventing Brazil from failing to win their group for the first time since the 1978 tournament in Argentina.  4th place is anticipated, but we can’t promise lightning won’t strike twice.

Soccer World Cup Group Previews and Predictions

Soccer World Cup Preview – Group A (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group B (Portugal, Spain, Morocco, IR Iran)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group C (France, Australia, Peru, Denmark)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group D (Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group E (Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group F (Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group G (Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England)
Soccer World Cup Preview – Group H (Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Ja

 *Please note – odds mentioned above are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change, so always check the latest published odds to be fully certain before betting.

**Certain tournaments had slightly different formats in the past, so the placing most aligned to the current tournament format has been chosen.

 

 

 

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