- Costa Rica
WorldCupAcca Confirmed Squad:
Keepers: Allison, Ederson, Cassio
Defence: Danilo, Fagner, Marcelo, Felipe Luis, T. Silva, Marquinhos, Miranda, P. Geromel
Midfield: Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Fred, R. Augusto, Coutinho, Willian, D. Costa
Forwards: Neymar, Taison, G. Jesus, R. Firmino
Whether it’s just because I’m a romantic or a pessimistic Englander knowing we’re going absolutely nowhere, Brazil are always the team I want to win in the end.
Historically, the most successful team in World Cup history with 5 wins – they’ve hardly lit up the last few tournaments, 2014 in particular ending in a very ignominious fashion. Their last victory coming in Korea 02’.
Brazil’s record in World Cup finals is generally fantastic, having reached it 20 times they have gone onto make the semi-finals 11 times and then final itself 7.
Only Germany bettering them with 8 finals – though unlike the Brazilians they lost half of those.
Brazil were the first side to qualify after the hosts, winning 12 of their 18 matches and losing just once, away to back-to-back Copa America winners Chile. – sentence management, too long.
WorldCupAcca The Squad:
The obvious question mark for them coming into the tournament is the fitness of their star man Neymar. Having broken his foot back in February and playing in an uncompetitive Ligue 1, he’s yet to return and may not be back to his best come the opening game.
Between Allison and Ederson they have 2 of the best goalkeepers in Europe from last season and whilst Dani Alves may prove to be a miss at right back going forward; with Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Miranda and possibly Marquinhos filling in on the right they’ve still got a pretty imperious defence.
What makes Brazil a different proposition this year is not so much the samba and flair that has made them famous in the past but the fact that they’re now a very solid outfit who rarely concede (in qualifying they conceded just 11 times) a key player when they get into the latter stages will be Casemiro as far as holding midfielders go, there aren’t many better than this him and partnered with Fernandinho/Paulinho add that with the aforementioned back 4 and there aren’t many better defencive units on paper.
With this base, then you’ve got the likes of Coutinho, Fred, Douglas Costa, Firmino, Jesus and of course the Brazilian posterboy himself, Neymar.
I actually think this is where the squad falls a little short, of course there are a couple of world class players in there capable of turning any game in Brazil’s favour but they lack the sort of firepower that say, Argentina possess and would be more expected to grind out results than blow teams away.
WorldCupAcca The Group:
Winning this group should really be a formality for Brazil, last time out Costa Rica surprised a few but don’t get carried away. Italy and England were a pair of absolute bottle jobs in that group and then they struggled with 2 games going to penalties against Greece and an average Netherlands side.
Their qualifying campaign didn’t offer us any real surprises other than Panama qualifying ahead of the USA but results this year a 1-0 defeat to Tunisia and a 1-0 victory over Scotland.
This along with their Gold Cup performance in 2017 isn’t exactly inspiring stuff, other than a 3-0 win over French Guiana, they managed a draw against Canada, along with a couple of 1-0 wins over Honduras and Panama before bowing out to the USA.
Switzerland come in as the 2nd seeded team, a position bought from some clever friendly arranging to boost their ranking and nothing more. Breel Embolo looks a promising player but missed most of this season with a bad ankle fracture, beyond that you’re looking at Xherdan Shaqiri to smash one in the top corner from 25 yards and Granit Xhaka to not be a complete liability.
They were lucky to qualify as it was with a contentious penalty decision against Northern Ireland in the playoffs and as far as friendlies go, wins against Belarus, Greece and Panama shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Serbia are an interesting one, physically strong with players such as Ivanovic, Matic and Mitrovic. They sacked their previous manager after qualifying for picking heavily experienced players over the likes of Milinkovic-Savic who starred in previous youth tournaments and with Lazio all season. I can see them sneaking through in second place.
WorldCupAcca Betting Tips:
World Cup Group E Fixtures / Results
|Cosmos Arena, Samara – June 17, 2018 4:00 pm|
|Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don – June 17, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg – June 22, 2018 3:00 pm|
|Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad – June 22, 2018 8:00 pm|
|Spartak Stadium, Spartak Stadium – June 27, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod – June 27, 2018 9:00 pm|
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