Group E is one of the groups that were always going to be interesting. Brazil were overwhelming favourites to win this group and they can do it by beating Serbia. However, with three teams being similar in strength, the fight for the second place was always supposed to be unpredictable. Now, coming into the last round of matches, Switzerland are in good position as they are in front of Serbia, who will have to beat Brazil if they are to progress to the second round of the tournament.
Serbia started the tournament well but did not capitalize on the situation they had in front of them. After beating Costa Rica in the opener, 1-0, Serbia had a chance of progressing to the second round with a match to spare, by beating Switzerland. Just five minutes into that match, Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a header and the standings were saying Serbia are atop and going to the last 16. However, too easily they let the match slip from their hands and lost 2-1. Now, they trail Switzerland by a point and will have to beat Brazil if they want to go through, as the Swiss are playing already eliminated Costa Rica side. Nemanja Matic did not enjoy a good match against Switzerland and now against Brazil he will have to be one of the leaders of this team if they are actually to pull off a miracle. It will be a gigantic task for Serbia and they seem to be very close to going back home after the match.
Serbia will be in full strength for this match and Mladen Krstajic will be able to choose from all of his 23 players.
Brazil, on the other hand, did not have a good start. They started well against Switzerland but then struggled to impose themselves against a physical and tactically astute side. Selecao drew 1-1 in that match and just managed to win against Costa Rica 2-0 with both of their goals arriving in the stoppage time. So, Brazil did not really make anyone fear them as much as it was expected before the tournament started and they will want to change that against Serbia. First of all, they are still not through, even though they are expected to be, and that means they will want to be at their best. Neymar did not really enjoy the first two matches and will want to change things this time around, getting ready for the latter stages of the tournament.
Brazil are in full strength for this match.
Key Factors to Consider
- Serbia made just two shots in the second half against Switzerland, conceding 12 of them in the same period
- Brazil failed to score with their first eight shots on target against Costa Rica, without conceding any of them throughout the match
Serbia must win this and Brazil also need to win and win big, if they are to finish first in this group. So, expect the old Brazil winning this comfortably.
Best Odds: 7/5