World Cup Preview – Sunday
COSTA RICA vs SERBIA
Group E – 1pm BST – Samara
Costa Rica – The last couple of warm up games have not gone well for Costa Rica. They were well beaten 2-0 by England at Elland Road and were hammered 4-1 by Belgium.
Serbia – Serbia were superb in their last warm up game beating Bolivia 5-1 but were defeated 1-0 by Chile beforehand so form has been mixed. In March an impressive 2-0 win against Nigeria was cancelled out by a 2-1 loss against Morocco.
LIKELY LINE UPS
Costa Rica – (5-4-1) Navas; Gamboa, Gonzalez, Acosta, Watson, Oviedo; Ruiz, Borges, Guzman, Bolanos; Urena
Serbia – (4-2-3-1) Stojkovic; Rukavina, Ivanovic, Nastasic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic
Serbia should be too strong for Costa Rica, who haven’t shown any signs of quality in recent friendlies. Costa Rica will be hoping to replicate their 2014 World Cup form but I can’t see it. Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia
Serbia to win 2-0 – 8/1 (Price Boost)
Tadic first goalscorer – 13/2
Serbia -1 – 5/2
GERMANY vs MEXICO
Group F – 4pm BST – Moscow
Germany – With a surprising 2-1 loss to Austria and scraping a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia, Germany aren’t in the best of form. Back in March they could only manage a 1-0 defeat to Brazil and a 1-1 draw against Spain.
Mexico – In 3 warm up games against Wales, Scotland and Denmark, Mexico could only manage 1 victory against the Scots. A 2-0 loss to Denmark may be concerning going in to the World Cup proper.
LIKELY LINE UPS
Germany – (4-2-3-1) Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector; Kroos, Khedira; Muller, Ozil, Reus; Werner
Mexico – (4-3-3) Ochoa; Salcedo, Reyes, Moreno, Layun; Marquez, Herrera, Guardado; Vela, Hernandez, Lozano
While they haven’t looked impressive in friendlies, Germany always turn up in the big tournaments. Expect this to be no different with a comfortable opening win. Germany 3-0 Mexico
Germany -1 handicap – 5/4
Muller first goalscorer – 6/1 (price boost)
Germany 3-0 – 9/1
BRAZIL vs SWITZERLAND
Group E – 7pm BST – Rostov
Brazil – Brazil are in great form. They won warm up games against Croatia and Austria comfortably, not conceding a goal and scoring 5. Back in March they defeated world champions Germany 1-0. The last team to stop Brazil winning was actually England back in November in a 0-0 draw.
Switzerland – Drawing 1-1 with Spain in a World Cup warm up, Switzerland showed they will be no pushovers here. They are unbeaten in 6 including wins over Japan, Panama, Greece and Northern Ireland.
LIKELY LINE UPS
Brazil – (4-3-3) Allisson; Danilo, Silva, Marquinhos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Paulinho, Renato Augusto; Coutinho, Jesus, Neymar
Switzerland – (4-2-3-1) Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Djourou, Schar, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Freuler; Embolo, Shaqiri, Mehmedi; Seferovic
I don’t think this will be easy for Brazil, but they should come through with a win. Switzerland are a decent side and will be Brazil’s toughest opponents in the group stage. Brazil 2-1 Switzerland
Brazil 2-1 – 8/1
Gabriel Jesus to score first – 9/2
Granit Xhaka first player carded – 9/1
– Robert Shiers