2018 World Cup Group E Future Odds and Predictions
Now we will take a look at Group E of the World Cup, where there is only a clear favorite to top the group and three pretty equal teams that will fight for the 2nd spot. We are talking about Brazil, who have been really stunning since their humiliation in the previous edition of the World Cup in their own country. The other three teams are Costa Rica, Switzerland, and Serbia, three teams that don't have significant differences between them.
Brazil will be looking to wash off the disgrace of the previous edition of the World Cup, where they were humiliated by a massive 7-1 against Germany in the semi-finals. Since then there have been a ton of changes, most importantly in the bench, where Tite took over when Carlos Dunga also failed in the Copa America in 2016. Brazil was the first team to book their ticket to the World Cup, as they dominated the CONCACAF Group (12-1-5) scoring 41 goals in the process and finished ten points ahead of the 2nd spot. Their star player is without a doubt Neymar (Paris Saint Germain), who is one of the few players to still have some signature Brazilian traits in his game. He is captain of the Selecao at just 26 years of age, and he has scored 53 goals in 83 matches with the national team. Brazil has one of the most complete rosters in the competition, with pretty much every position having a solid reserve. However, an injury to right wing-back Daniel Alves might be too hard to replace, but the Brazilians have a ton of talent and should make this work. After all, Brazil has captured the World Cup on five occasions (1958. 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002), and they are the only team to have captured back-to-back titles.
Switzerland is one of the very promising teams in this World Cup, with a lot of talent in their ranks. This is their fourth qualification in the final stage of a World Cup, but they had to play a couple of playoff matches. They were dominant in their Qualifying group, as they had won each of their nine first matches, only to lose to Portugal in the final game (9-1-0). After that, they had to play a couple of playoff matches against Northern Ireland, where after winning by 1-0 on the road, they held for a goalless draw at home and booked their ticket. They are highly unlikely to challenge Brazil for the top spot, but with a little caution and some luck, they can easily overcome Serbia and Costa Rica for the 2nd spot. They are a really rough bunch of players, with a lot of them playing in the most prominent European competitions. They have very strong players in each line, with Xherdan Shaqiri being their focal point. He is dubbed the Balkan Messi (he is of Albanian descent), and his left foot is really dangerous. He can break down defenses, and also create plays for the rest of the team. This will be the fourth World Cup for Switzerland (1934, 1938, 1954), and they are also the only team to have kept clean sheets through their entire 2006 World Cup run.
The former Yugoslavian team has been participating as an independent country under the name of Serbia since 2006. They have given us some star-players over the years like Predrag Mijatovic, Sinisa Mihajlovic, etc., and this will be their 3rd time in the nation's recent history that they participate in a World Cup. They were excellent in the World Cup qualifiers, where they finished at the top of their group that also featured Ireland, Wales, Austria, Georgia, and Moldova. In this generation of players, they have a pretty good number of solid players like Matic (Manchester United), Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Tadic (Southampton), Ljajic (Torino) and a ton of other players that play in the Premier League and other major leagues. Despite the pretty solid squad, they are led by a somewhat inexperienced coach in Mladen Krstajic, who was pretty good as a defender in Germany and with the national team as well. Once again, since Brazil are the big favorites to top the group, Serbia will have to fend off both Switzerland and Costa Rica in order to make a deep run.
COSTA RICA (+2500)
Which brings us to the seemingly weakest team in the group, at least given the odds to top the group, which are way higher than the other teams. However, the bookies are in the wrong here, as Costa Rica is known to cause upsets in major tournaments and have been consistent in recent years. They were the unexpected team in the previous edition of the World Cup when they topped their group without even losing to Uruguay, Italy, and England. A massive feat that allowed them to overcome Greece in the round of 16, only to bow down in the quarter-finals against the Netherlands after a penalty shoot-out. They also did a great job in the World Cup Qualifiers, where they easily finished at the 2nd spot of the CONMEBOL group that also featured Mexico, USA, Panama, Honduras, and Trinidad & Tobago. They have quite a few players to watch in their roster, like Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Lisbon), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna) and Joel Campbell (Betis). Don't forget that most of the players on this roster were the ones that went undefeated against Uruguay, Italy, and England in the previous World Cup.
2018 World Cup Group E Predictions
Brazil is expected to have a very easy go of it in this group, and it is not worth it to bet on them unless you can bet hard on it. However, there are a lot of exciting bets we can place here, like the upset of Costa Rica to advance from the group (+400). Also, Costa Rica to get Over 1.5 Total Group points goes @ -155. As for Switzerland and Serbia, it is anyone's guess which team might be able to hold off Brazil or will lose points to Costa Rica. This is a wide-open group, but on paper, it is Switzerland who is the better of the other three teams. Switzerland to advance past the group stage goes @ +110.