World Cup Group E – Betting Tips and Preview
Tournament favourites Brazil will have been extremely satisfied with their World Cup 2018 group draw which sees them face Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia. Whilst all three teams pose a threat, the reality is this is one of the better FIFA World Cup 2018 groups that the five-time winners could have got.
After the humiliating 7-1 exit to German on their own patch four years ago, many Brazilians will see this as the perfect chance to restore serious pride in the famous footballing nation. They will be led by star man Neymar who is currently recovering from injury but should be fit for the finals. The PSG man will hope to light up the tournament not just this group.
The matches for Group E World Cup 2018 will be played from Sunday 17 June with the final set of fixtures played ten days later. It’s a demanding World Cup schedule for the countries but they will all face the same problems.
Here at OpenOdds we will bring you an in-depth guide to this group looking at what you can expect from the teams as well as recommending some bets for the punters out there.
Winner Prediction: Brazil
It won’t surprise anyone to see that we are tipping Brazil to top this group and it could be achieved with relative ease.
The Samba Boys breezed through the notoriously difficult South American qualifiers, losing just one of 18 games and topping the standings by ten points. It was a clear message to the world that they had recovered from the embarrassment of 2014 and manager Tite deserves huge credit for that.
Whilst he is a major reason for their success, they are still blessed with real quality all over the pitch.
In goal, Alisson is regarded as one of the best stoppers in the world, with Manchester City’s Ederson as back-up.
Defensively, they are also sound, with Marquinhos emerging as a real classy defender and Marcelo and Dani Alves still as good as ever in the full-back areas.
Yet it’s further up the pitch where they really stand out. Real Madrid’s Casemiro provides a splendid platform for the likes of Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and of course Neymar to go and perform.
Ultimately, this is a complete team and one that understandably feels they can win the tournament, so they should have little trouble winning an unspectacular, if solid group.
Unfortunately for punters, that means you can only get Brazil at 2/7 with Sky Bet to advance as the group winners but it’s a very safe bet.
Another reason to have little worry over Tite’s men winning the group is that the runner up is likely to play Germany in the last 16, something they will want to avoid.
Detailed overview of Group E
Whilst Brazil should make light work of winning the group, the battle for second will be intriguing and features three teams that will all hope they can progress from Group E World Cup 2018.
Firstly, Switzerland are side that boast several players UK fans will be aware of. Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka will be the man to pull the strings from deep, whilst Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri is the danger man in the final third for the Swiss.
Coach Vladimir Petković took the side to Euro 2016 and they had a very good qualifying campaign despite finishing second. They actually won nine and lost just one of their last ten games but had to settle for a play-off place due to a poor head-to-head record against Portugal.
However that highlights their consistency and ability to grind out wins.
Next up, Serbia will be at their first finals since 2010 and will hope to shake-off the underachiever’s tag that has been with them for several years.
Despite the quality that they have, Serbia have not made an impact at a major tournament and sometimes even fail to qualify, with off-the-field issues often ruining any chances they have.
Whilst they haven’t exactly all gone away, with a team containing the likes of Nemanja Matic, Aleksandr Kolorov and Adam Ljajic among others, they will be confident of doing well.
Finally, Costa Rica will be hoping for another magical World Cup adventure after their heroic efforts in Brazil last time out.
They managed to finish top of a group containing England, Uruguay and Italy before losing in the quarter-finals against Netherlands on penalties.
That success was built on great organisation, superb team ethic and a solid defence and it will be more of the same in Russia.
The trio competing for second may not produce great games but it will be intriguing to watch given what is at stake.
Runners-Up Prediction: Serbia
As briefly mentioned, once again things haven’t been great off the pitch for Serbia. Despite impressively qualifying for the World Cup, the erratic decision makers decided that Slavoljub Muslin ought to be sacked.
He was replaced by Mladen Krstajic who will be in charge for the World Cup this summer in what will be his first real role as a manager.
Despite that, Serbia have a talented squad and importantly a lot of players are highly experienced and won’t let any issues distract the team.
The likes of Matic, Kolorov and Branislav Ivanovic have great mentalities and that could be the difference in these tight, nervy group games.
Crucially, they also have a striker fit and firing in Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has been sensational with Fulham, along with capable back-up now in Aleksandar Prijovic.
Traditionally, that hasn’t been the case and whilst Serbia were always solid in defence and had a powerful midfield, they were missing that clinical striker. With Mitrovic especially, those issues are gone.
This will be very close to call but having been priced up as third favourites and therefore available at a tempting 2/1, we will go with Serbia to finish second to Brazil.
Recommended Bet: Costa Rica to finish last – Betway – 5/6
It’s tough to discard Costa Rica after the incredible performances that they put on at Brazil, however the manager has changed and the players are four years older, with no obvious major talents coming through since that make you think they could repeat those remarkable achievements.
Again, they will be solid, structured and hard to beat but even Serbia and Switzerland should have enough guile and creativity to open them up when they play.
When required to break teams down, things become a lot harder for the CONCACAF side and they also won’t be taken lightly as you could argue they were four years ago.
The dates for the World Cup 2018 might be in every Costa Ricans diary, but with Brazil sure to lead the way and the other two boasting much more quality on paper, they might have to prepare for a swift elimination.