It’s safe to say that the 2014 World Cup has left its scars on Brazilian football fans. The whole country was set for the Selecao to romp to victory on home soil four years ago but their dreams turned into a nightmare when Germany humiliated them 7-1 in an unforgettable semi final. It’s been a long road back but Brazil arrive in Russia with every chance of securing World Cup redemption.

Tite has brought a combination of attacking flair and professionalism with him and the Brazil manager will be privately very happy with a group draw that pits his team against Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia. Brazil are the clear favourites to win at a general price of 2/7 but there are avenues for punters to turn in the look for Group E shocks and profit.

Brazil Should Win Three From Three

It’s never easy for the Brazil manager. As well as having to deal with the enormous weight of expectation to perform on the biggest stage, Tite has clocked up the airmiles as the Selecao’s popularity sees them travel the world playing friendly matches. Those friendlies are often treated as little more than exhibitions by fans and the media but Tite is having none of it. He wants his players to treat every match as if it were competitive and that approach is paying dividends.

It’s not just that Brazil have tested themselves against some top quality opposition, Tite’s professional approach ensures they get used to dealing with pressure and that their tactical plans are tried and tested before their first game against Switzerland on 17 June.

Brazil should have no problems topping Group E, albeit at very short odds. They are comfortably the best team in the group while Tite’s demanding nature will see them fully focussed throughout. As well as backing Brazil to win Group E, it should pay to back them in each of their three group stage games.

Serbia the Pick of the European Duo

Serbia are the lowest ranked European team competing in the 2018 World Cup. You should always take the official FIFA rankings with a pinch of salt though and we predict there is every chance Serbia will prove themselves a more competent outfit than Switzerland.

Serbia barely put a foot wrong in a qualifying campaign that saw them edge out Wales, Ireland and Austria. All was not well in the camp though as some players and fans grew tired of the defensive approach employed by Slavoljub Muslin. The Serbian FA agreed that a more attacking outlook was the best fit for this current crop of players and replaced Muslin with Mladen Krstajic. His lack of experience is a concern but it could pay to side with his optimistic outlook by backing Serbia to qualify at the expense of Switzerland and Costa Rica.

Switzerland can count themselves very fortunate to be playing at the World Cup. They just about squeezed through a qualification playoff against Northern Ireland thanks to a dreadful penalty decision and their lack of goals could be a major problem in Russia.

The Swiss are not completely devoid of attacking intent – Vladimir Petkovic likes to employ attack minded full backs for example – but they lack any real quality up front. Switzerland might just find their best stuff at the World Cup but our odds comparison shows Serbia are available at 11/8 to qualify with Betfair which looks too good a price to ignore.

Costa Rica to Make the Opposition Work Very Hard

Costa Rica were one of the good news stories of the 2014 World Cup. They defied their tag as rank outsiders to make it all the way to the quarter finals where they agonisingly lost to the Netherlands on penalties. This time around you won’t find Costa Rica at betting odds of 4,000/1 but their chances of World Cup glory are still incredibly slim as a price of 500/1 with Bet365 proves.

The best chance that Costa Rica have of making the knockout stages is by sticking to the defensive football that has served them so well in recent years. They have a world class goal keeper in Keylor Navas who marshals an organised and committed defence.

No team will have an easy match against Costa Rica because of their defensive qualities but Oscar Ramirez has a problem in terms of the creative players available to him. The players capable of making a difference are either ageing or struggling with fitness and form so don’t expect Costa Rica to provide any more fairy tales in Russia.


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