FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 – Serbia vs Brazil PREVIEW
Serbia and Brazil are facing up in pretty much a game which decides the team that advances. Serbia must win, while Brazil can afford any result as long as it isn’t a loss. It’s a tougher situation that Brazil may have expected coming into the third game, but surely they’ll come through after all they are the favourites. However, Serbia are not bad either, they will be a tough nut to crack and can always pull of a surprise.
Serbia are coming after a heart breaking last minute defeat to Switzerland which has pretty much left them hopeless at this point. Anything else than a win over the mighty Brazil means they’re out which makes the task extremely daunting. Serbia haven’t looked bad in the world cup, but one half has literally nearly put their world cup to bed unless a miracle happens. In the opening game Serbia beat Costa Rica 1-0 playing good football and then they once again took a lead against Switzerland early and kept it until the 53rd minute. However Serbia went from being 40 minutes away from the next round, they went right to falling all the way down to 3rd place. Serbia got beat by a top class strike by Xhaka which there was nothing they could do about and then a silly mistake by Tosic committing to the tackle and missing the ball led to Shaqiri being through on goal and making it 2-1. The game was controversial, Serbia felt like they should’ve had a penalty which they had a very good case for. However, that is all history and there’s nothing Serbia can change. Only thing they can do now is beat Brazil to go through. Will it happen? Highly unlikely, but they have to believe.
To say it’s been a nervy world cup for Brazil would be an understatement. They first drew 1-1 with Switzerland and then it took 91 minutes to break down Costa Rica and eventually put them away with 2 90 minute goals by the score of 2-0. Can we say that Brazil’s performances have been bad? No that’s not the case, but they could definitely do better. Brazil have dominated both games, but their chance conversion MUST IMPROVE. They wasted many chances against Switzerland then they headed in the same direction against Costa Rica until Coutinho finally broke them down and Neymar added the second. Brazil’s star man has definitely been Coutinho in this tournament, yes even over Neymar. Coutinho has been their top scorer and the main threat. Neymar has struggled so far, he’s been facing a lot of dirty challenges, been booked, it’s just not been his world cup yet but a goal in the end of the Costa Rica game may bring the confidence to go on and make it his world cup now. Defensively Brazil haven’t had trouble, other than the goal they’ve conceded against the Swiss which was still arguably a foul and shouldn’t have stood, they snuffed out both opponents. Costa Rica barely created anything against Brazil. Brazil have shown to have more balance this year than in 2014 which allows their full backs to go forward due to powerful midfielders in Casemiro and Paulinho and two Centre Backs who actually sit and don’t bomb forward like Luiz used to do. It may not have yet been a great start to the world cup for Brazil, but as long as they do their job against Serbia, they will advance to the round of 16. But if they lose their dreams will turn into a huge nightmare.
Let’s start off with Serbia. We can expect them to set up to frustrate Brazil. Let’s be honest if they throw bodies forward, Brazil will destroy them. Serbia will play physical, they have a very physical team which is something Brazil hate to play against as we saw against the Swiss. Players like Matic, Savic, Milivojevic, Kolarov, Ivanovic, Tosic and pretty much everyone else are very tough, gruelling players to play against. Physicality is the biggest strength in Serbia’s play and if they roughen it up for Brazil, who knows they may frustrate them enough to the point where Brazillian players lose their minds and throw the game away. Going forward, Serbia have enough talent to break down teams, although Brazil one of the most organised defences with a two tough DM’s in front of them. Savic Tadic and Mitrovic are the key players for Serbia going forward. Savic and Tadic bring a lot of creativity into the side, while Mitrovic is a striker defenders hate to play against, he loves to go out there and literally fight for every ball with defenders. Serbia will hope that Mitrovic can frustrate Silva and Miranda enough where they may make a mistake. In terms of Brazil there’s going to be dilemma selecting players. Do they still go with Jesus or Firmino going forward? Jesus has not performed well while Firmino has given Brazil good impact of the bench and looking at their performances, we may see a change. Willian has been awful at RW and he may be replaced by Douglas Costa who impacted the last game much more than Willian after coming on and finally at RB it will either be Fagner or Danilo. Another selection headache. Other than that we expect Brazil to keep the same side. Brazil will be on the front foot, they can’t allow Serbia to frustrate them, they have way more pace and flair in their side. Brazil must exploit the Neymar vs Ivanovic match up because Ivanovic is slow and ageing he’s not the same RB he used to be. Expect Brazil to dominate the game and Serbia to try to hit them on counter attacks. To summarise the keys for Serbia are make it tough on Brazil, play physical and roughen it up for Neymar and other attackers, maybe eventually they’ll frustrate brazil to the point they make mistakes and as for Brazil it’s the opposite, don’t get frustrated if you can’t break them down just stay patient, eventually Serbia would have to throw bodies forward and the spaces will open up. Defensively Brazil need to stay solid which they’ve been doing well so far. Brazil’s attackers can’t allow themselves to get into physical battles and get into a few scuffles, especially Neymar and Coutinho as they’re one booking away from suspension.
There is no way Brazil are going home. We simply don’t believe it’s going to happen. Serbia are coming off of a heart breaking loss, they should’ve beaten Switzerland but they blew that chance. Brazil are on a high, Neymar got his goal and we expect him and co to pick it up now. Brazil’s quality and pace in play will simply prove to be too much for Serbia. Yeah Serbia will play physical football and may frustrate Brazil early, but it’s going to be tough to consistently hold them out throughout the whole game, plus it’s highly doubtful Serbia will break Brazil down anyway with Silva and Miranda at the back, they’re not the type of defenders that get frustrated easily, they may frustrate Mitrovic instead of it being the other way. Brazil are the favourites in the tournament, they’re better and will eventually come through as winners. Expect Brazil to win this game 2-0.
1 Brazil 4 pts +2 GD
2 Switzerland 4 pts +1 GD
3 Serbia 3 pts 0 GD
4 Costa Rica 0 pts -3 GD
ODDS – Decimal (WilliamHill)
Serbia Win – 7.00
Draw – 4.00
Brazil Win – 1.50
KICK OFF – 27th June 2018 – 7pm UK Time