World Cup 2018 Previews June 17th: Costa Rica v Serbia, Germany v Mexico, Brazil v Switzerland

Sunday’s World Cup action brings us matches from Group E which sees Costa Rica v Serbia and Brazil v Switzerland, followed by other Group F match between world champions Germany v Mexico.

Costa Rica v Serbia is a vital match for both teams, with Costa Rica looking thoroughly unimpressive after losing 2-0 England, and 4-1 to Belgium in their World Cup preparation matches less than ten days ago, whereas Serbia lost 1-0 to Chile and beat Bolivia 5-1 in their preparation matches.

In this match, we expect nothing less than a Serbia victory, as when you look across the squad, they have a number of quality players such as Kolarov and Ivanovic in defence, with Nemanja Matic, Milivojević and Milinkovic-Savic in midfield, plus with two recognisable strikers in Mitrovic and Ljajic.

Keylor Navas is Costa Rica’s man in between the goal posts. Credit: Goal.com

Interestingly enough, all those players play in the Premier League or in Serie A. On the other hand, for Costa Rica, goalkeeper Keylor Navas of Real Madrid, may be in for an afternoon of hard work in trying to keep a clean sheet, with their only other player that may pose a danger to the Serbian defence, being former Arsenal reserve Joel Campbell.

Match Prediction: Serbia to win 

In Group F, reigning champions Germany kick off their World Cup trophy defence against Mexico. Germany v Mexico should be an entertaining match and it will be interesting to see how Germany perform in the early stages. Joachim Löw leads his Germany side into the tournament expecting to win it, as usual, but they didn’t play so well against Saudi Arabia last Saturday in their preparation match, only beating them 2-1 and they have not really been playing very well lately, even leaking quite a few goals by their standards. But, that’s not going to stop Germany from excelling in this World Cup tournament.

Meanwhile, Mexico have also been less than impressive recently, as well, than in previous years, by only beating Scotland 1-0, then losing 2-0 to Denmark. Javier Hernandez remains a real goal threat and hopefully exciting PSV star Hirving Lozano will be given a chance to shine, although, this might be difficult against Germany’s tight defence.

Can Javier Hernandez score against Germany today? Credit: ESPN

The benefit that the Mexico squad have is that they’re all familiar with each other, with largely the same players as in previous years and in previous World Cup tournaments. Germany have a less experienced side and are seen as somewhat of a new generation of players from their World Cup winning side of 2014, but key players like Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira, Jerome Boateng, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil will still predominate the landscape of the starting 11 players, with lots of emphasis placed on new rising star striker Timo Werner.

Timo Werner is Germany’s first choice striker and is expected to score. Credit: Bundesliga

It’s also worth noting that Marco Reus, finally makes a World Cup trip after missing out on two previous major tournaments through injuries. On paper, Germany still looks like one of the strongest teams in the tournament, if not the strongest.

Match Prediction: Germany Result, Both teams to score – Yes

In the evening match, it’s Brazil v Switzerland, with both teams having a successful preparation ahead of the World Cup tournament. Brazil are unbeaten in 11 consecutive matches, whilst Switzerland are unbeaten in six matches, drawing against Spain and beating Japan 2-0 only nine days ago. The tournament favourites’ star man, Neymar is back fully fit and Brazil will look to dictate the play through him, with Switzerland’s defensive midfielders in Granit Xhaka and Behrami, likely trying to tackle him or even trying to take him out.

Will Neymar Junior score against Switzerland? Credit: Twitter

Of course, Brazil also have Gabriel Jesus and Philip Coutinho, to run rings around the Swiss defensive line and it will only be a question of when the Brazilians will open the deadlock with goals. But the Swiss are highly organised, but Brazil’s talents will prove too much for them. This Brazilian team is the most exciting attacking squad that they have probably ever had, with additional attacking players like Douglas Costa, Roberto Firmino and Willian, ready to make an appearance. Casemiro is a focal point in the centre of midfield and is very much a key player holding it all together for the five time world champions. Can they make it six-time champions in Russia?

Xheridan Shakiri is Switzerland’s danger man and could chisel out an opportunity. Credit: TalkSport

Meanwhile, Swiss winger Xheridan Shakiri is fresh from relegation and a summer transfer target for many sides, who will be Brazil’s only real concern and they can’t allow him much time on the ball, if they wish to keep the Swiss team quiet.

Match Prediction:  Brazil to win, Both Teams to Score – No

 

Story by The Narrator 

Featured Photo Credit: FIFA.com