World Cup Group E: Brazil & Who Else Advance?

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SBR Staff

Monday, May 14, 2018 12:02 PM UTC

Monday, May. 14, 2018 12:02 PM UTC

Group E, comprised of Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica, is an interesting study for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

Skybook Odds to Advance from Group E
  • Brasil -1600
  • Switzerland -105
  • Serbia +120
  • Costa Rica +350

On one hand, Group E is pretty straight forward for the 2018 World Cup: Brazil should get the top spot, Switzerland should go number two and Serbia and Costa Rica will get eliminated. There are pretty clear odds that favor that scenario, according to lines at SBR's top-rated sportsbooks. However, there is a lot more at play under the surface here, and things may not be as they seem.

The most obvious takeaway is that Brazil is a lock to get out of this group. They are by far the most talented team and they are coming into this World Cup with a mission: to honor their good name after it was sullied in the 7-1 thrashing in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup on their own soil. The group stage should not give them much to worry about. With Neymar healthy and leading the way, Brazil has a potent arsenal and imposing midfield to deal with. Gabriel Jesus will center the attack with Neymar and Phillipe Coutinho at his disposal, while Dani Alves and Marcelo capably man the defense in front of Roma goaltender Alisson Becker.

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The rest of the field, however, is where things could get interesting. If you check lines at Skybook.ag, Switzerland is the odds-on favorite to emerge to the round of 16 and they are ranked well ahead of Serbia and Costa Rica by FIFA at number six, behind Argentina and ahead of France. They have to excellent fullbacks in Stephan Lichtsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez, Granit Xhaka is a star midfielder, and the attack has some decent weapons in its arsenal, namely Xherdan Shaqiri. Taking a closer look though, this is a Switzerland team that only barely qualified, finishing second in their group behind Portugal and they needed to squeak out a 1-0 win against Northern Ireland to gain a berth at the World Cup. Xhaka has had an up-and-down season with Arsenal, with many criticizing him for bad defensive lapses. A failure to score combined with a couple of defensive lapses is all it takes to lose a game at the World Cup, and the Swiss could be vulnerable in this sense.

Costa Rica and Serbia are not powerhouse teams by any stretch of the imagination, but they can feasibly steal a game from the Swiss and even the Brazilians if they are lucky enough. Costa Rica's main weapon is Real Madrid goaltender Keylor Navas, who is showing top form lately in leading his club team to the Champions League finals against Liverpool. He is more than capable of waiting out a 0-0 draw if his defense can limit the number of quality shots he has to face. Serbia is also capable of waiting out low-scoring games, with what is maybe the most experienced defensive midfield in the whole tournament. Nemanja Matic is the centerpiece, and he is flanked by ascending star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. With captains Aleksandar Kolarov and Branislav Ivanovic shoring up the defense, Serbia is a tough nut to crack, and could give Brazil and Switzerland trouble in their quest for passage to the knockout stage.

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