Group E Preview
Group E features two teams that had very interesting stories come out of the 2014 World Cup. The biggest shock in group play that World Cup was that Costa Rica came out on top of a group that had Uruguay, Italy, and England. Costa Rica also almost made the semi-finals, as they lost to the Netherlands in a shootout in the quarter-finals, 4-3. And speaking of semi-finals, Brazil is still getting over the infamous 7-1 game against Germany. Then rounding out the group are Serbia (who missed out on the last World Cup) and Switzerland (who lost in the round of 16 to Argentina).
Matches and dates (East coast time):
Costa Rica vs Serbia, June 17th at 8 a.m.
Brazil vs Switzerland, June 17th at 2 p.m.
Brazil vs Costa Rica, June 22nd at 8 a.m.
Serbia vs Switzerland, June 22nd at 2 p.m.
Switzerland vs Costa Rica, June 27th at 2 p.m.
Serbia vs Brazil, June 27th at 2 p.m.
Brazil 7 points
Switzerland 6 points
Costa Rica 3 points
Serbia 1 point
Key match: Switzerland vs Costa Rica
Both teams should beat Serbia and lose to Brazil in their first two games, so they’ll be even on points. And everything will be on the line in this game, as a spot in the round of 16 will be at stake. I expect this game to be very closely contested and chances for each team will be few and far between, but Switzerland will capitalize on one of their chances and that will see them through to the next round.
Brazil should be able to coast through this group, and that’s even if Neymar isn’t back at 100%. The rest of this group should be close. Every non Brazil game should be close, and I don’t think Costa Rica or Serbia have a strong enough attack to get through to the knockout stage. Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas could have another great World Cup run that could propel Costa Rica to the knockout stage, but they will have a hard time scoring goals. And while Serbia doesn’t have a top end goalie like Costa Rica, they still have a solid defense that should keep them in most games.