2018 FIFA World Cup – Group E Preview & Betting Tips

The following is a team-by-team preview of Group E in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Futures betting tips are also provided. The group consists of tournament favourites Brazil, along with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

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Other group previews:

 

Brazil

Brazil

  • FIFA World Ranking (as of June 7): 2
  • Rank by Elo rating (as of June 11): 1
  • Squad:
    • Coach: Adenor Leonardo Bacchi (Tite)
    • Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cassio (Corinthians)
    • Defenders: Miranda (Inter Milan), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Geromel (Gremio), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Fagner (Corinthians), Danilo (Manchester City), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)
    • Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk)
    • Forwards: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Firmino (Liverpool), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk), Douglas Costa (Juventus)
  • Best World Cup performance: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
  • 2014 World Cup: 1st in the group stage, knocked out in the semi-finals
  • 2010 World Cup: 1st in the group stage, knocked out in the quarter-finals
  • Qualifying: First place in the CONMEBOL qualifiers with a 12-5-1 record.
  • Bookmaker odds: (sourced from bet365)
    • Win group: 1.28
    • Reach knockouts: 1.062
    • Fail to reach knockouts: 11.00
    • Win World Cup: 5.00
  • Analyst predictions: :
    • Shaka Hilsop (ESPN): 1st in the group, tournament winners
    • Craig Burley (ESPN): 1st in the group, runners up
    • Paul Mariner (ESPN): 1st in the group, knocked out in the semi-finals
    • Tom Carnduff (SportingLife): 1st in the group, runners up
    • SBNATION: 1st in the group
    • AccuScore win group probability: 81.3%
    • AccuScore qualify from group probability: 95.2%
  • Good News:
    • The highest ranked team in the world based on Elo ratings.
    • Finished with a +30 goal difference and only suffered one defeat in 18 games during qualifying.
    • Five-time winners of the FIFA World Cup.
    • Head coach Tite has a vast amount of coaching experience, having managed clubs since 1990. Brazil have a 17-3-1 record since his appointment.
    • Needless to Brazil boast a high quality squad.
    • Haven’t conceded a goal in their last 6 games and are unbeaten in their last 16.
    • Neymar has recovered from a foot injury in time for the World Cup and he scored in a friendly against Austria.
    • Brazil beat Germany 1-0 in March and they did so without Neymar. They’re not as reliant on him as they were four years ago.
  • Bad News:
    • Have to shrug off the demons from their 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany in the last World Cup.
    • Since 1958 all of the six World Cups that were hosted in Europe were won by a European team.

 
Switzerland

Switzerland

  • FIFA World Ranking (as of June 7): 6
  • Rank by Elo rating (as of June 11): 14
  • Squad:
    • Coach: Vladimir Petković (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
    • Goalkeepers: Roman Buerki (Borussia Dortmund), Yvon Mvogo (RB Leipzig) and Yann Sommer (VfL Borussia M’gladbach)
    • Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor AS), Nico Elvedi (Borussia M’gladbach), Michael Lang (FC Basel), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Jacques-Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (AC Milan) and Fabian Schaer (Deportivo La Coruna)
    • Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Udinese), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Blerim Dzemaili (Bologna), Gelson Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Denis Zakaria (Borussia M’gladbach) and Steven Zuber (Hoffenheim)
    • Forwards: Josip Drmic (Borussia M’gladbach), Breel Embolo (Schalke, Mario Gavranovic(Dinamo Zagreb), Haris Seferovic (Benfica)
  • Best World Cup performance: Quarter-finals (1934, 1938, 1954)
  • 2014 World Cup: 2nd in the group stage, knocked out in the Round of 16
  • 2010 World Cup: 3rd in the group stage
  • Qualifying: Runners up in Group B with a 9-0-1 record in the UEFA Confederation qualification. Defeated Northern Ireland 1-0 on aggregate in the UEFA Second Round playoffs.
  • Bookmaker odds: (sourced from bet365)
    • Win group: 7.00
    • Reach knockouts: 2.00
    • Fail to reach knockouts: 1.80
    • Win World Cup: 101.00
  • Analyst predictions: :
    • Shaka Hilsop (ESPN): 3rd in the group
    • Craig Burley (ESPN): 3rd in the group
    • Paul Mariner (ESPN): 3rd in the group
    • Tom Carnduff (SportingLife): 2nd in the group, knocked out in the Round of 16
    • SBNATION: 2nd in the group
    • AccuScore win group probability: 3.9%
    • AccuScore qualify from group probability: 25.7%
  • Good News:
    • Finished second in UEFA Group B qualifying, but actually won nine of their ten games and missed out to Portugal on goal difference.
    • The clear second favourite in the group, with a FIFA World Ranking of 6.
  • Bad News:
    • Will be hard pressed to win Group E, which means they will likely be on a collision course with Germany in the Round of 16 if they progress.
    • Only just snuck past Northern Ireland 1-0 on aggregate during the qualification playoffs.
    • Their first game is against Brazil so they could find themselves playing catch up for the next two fixtures if they lose and either Serbia or Costa Rica get the win in their opening clash.

 
Costa Rica

Costa Rica

  • FIFA World Ranking (as of June 7): 23
  • Rank by Elo rating (as of June 11): 27
  • Squad:
    • Coach: Óscar Ramírez
    • Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Patrick Pemberton (LDA), Leonel Moreira (Herediano)
    • Defenders: Cristian Gamboa (Celtic), Ian Smith (Norrkoping), Ronald Matarrita (NYCFC), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland), Oscar Duarte (Espanyol), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Bologna), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Johnny Acosta (Aguilas Dorados)
    • Midfielders: David Guzman (Portland Timbers), Yeltsin Tejeda (Lausanne), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna), Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Rodney Wallace (NYCFC), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Lisbon), Daniel Colindres (Saprissa), Christian Bolanos (Saprissa)
    • Forwards: Johan Venegas (Saprissa), Joel Campbell (Real Betis), Marco Urena (LAFC)
  • Best World Cup performance: Quarter-finals (2014)
  • 2014 World Cup: 1st in the group stage, knocked out in the quarter-finals
  • 2010 World Cup: Absent
  • Qualifying: Runners up in the CONCACAF Fifth Round with a 4-4-2 record.
  • Bookmaker odds: (sourced from bet365)
    • Win group: 19.00
    • Reach knockouts: 4.50
    • Fail to reach knockouts: 1.20
    • Win World Cup: 501.00
  • Analyst predictions: :
    • Shaka Hilsop (ESPN): 2nd in the group, knocked out in the Round of 16
    • Craig Burley (ESPN): 4th in the group
    • Paul Mariner (ESPN): 4th in the group
    • Tom Carnduff (SportingLife): 4th in the group
    • SBNATION: 4th in the group
    • AccuScore win group probability: 4%
    • AccuScore qualify from group probability: 25.6%
  • Good News:
    • Quarter-finalists at the 2014 World Cup where they lost to the Netherlands on penalties.
    • Have one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Keylor Navas.
  • Bad News:
    • Find themselves in a group with two sides ranked 6th or higher in the world.
    • Their qualifying campaign fizzled out at the end, with no wins in their final three games.
    • Have gone 2-2-4 in their last 8 games and lost 3 of their last 4. Their final warm-up games saw them lose 0-2 to England and 1-4 to Belgium.

 
Serbia

Serbia

  • FIFA World Ranking (as of June 7): 34
  • Rank by Elo rating (as of June 11): 22
  • Squad:
    • Coach: Mladen Krstajić
    • Goalkeepers: Vladimir Stojkovic (Partizan Belgrade), Predrag Rajkovic (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Marko Dmitrovic (Eibar)
    • Defenders: Aleksandar Kolarov (AS Roma), Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St. Petersburg), Dusko Tosic (Guangzhou R&F), Antonio Rukavina (Villarreal), Milos Veljkovic (Werder Bremen), Milan Rodic (Red Star Belgrade), Uros Spajic (Krasnodar), Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina)
    • Midfielders: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United), Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Marko Grujic (Liverpool), Adem Ljajic (Torino), Dusan Tadic (Southampton), Filip Kostic (Hamburg SV), Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica), Nemanja Radonjic (Red Star Belgrade)
    • Forwards: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle), Aleksandar Prijovic (PAOK), Luka Jovic (Benfica)
  • Best World Cup performance: Fourth place (1930, 1962)
  • 2014 World Cup: Absent
  • 2010 World Cup: 4th in the group stage
  • Qualifying: Won Group D with a 6-3-1 record in the UEFA Confederation qualification.
  • Bookmaker odds: (sourced from bet365)
    • Win group: 9.00
    • Reach knockouts: 2.20
    • Fail to reach knockouts: 1.66
    • Win World Cup: 201.00
  • Analyst predictions: :
    • Shaka Hilsop (ESPN): 4th in the group
    • Craig Burley (ESPN): 2nd in the group, knocked out in the Round of 16
    • Paul Mariner (ESPN): 2nd in the group, knocked out in the Round of 16
    • Tom Carnduff (SportingLife): 3rd in the group
    • SBNATION: 3rd in the group
    • AccuScore win group probability: 10.9%
    • AccuScore qualify from group probability: 53.5%
  • Good News:
    • While they’re ranked last in the group based on the official FIFA World rankings, Serbia are ranked higher than Costa Rica based on Elo ratings.
    • Have some good qualify in midfield.
  • Bad News:
    • Head coach Mladen Krstajić doesn’t have much managerial experience, having taken his first head coaching role in 2017.
    • Find themselves in a group with two sides ranked 6th or higher.
    • Have an ageing squad, with five defenders aged 32 or older.
    • Were inconsistent in their 2018 friendlies, beating Nigeria and Bolivia but losing to Morocco and Chile.

 

Betting tips:

Brazil look stronger than they did four years ago and they have shown they can play and win without Neymar. With such a strong squad, including a fit Neymar, and excellent results coming into the tournament, Brazil should win this group and they have an excellent chance of winning the World Cup.

Back Brazil to win Group E at 1.30 (Betfair)

Back Brazil to win the World Cup at 5.40 (Betfair)

 

Notes

 

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