BRAZIL vs COSTA RICA

Group E – 1pm BST – St Petersburg

LAST TIME OUT

Brazil 1-1 Switzerland – Phillipe Coutinho produced a wonder strike for Brazil early on but Tite’s side were surprisingly pegged back by a 50th minute Zuber equaliser.

Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia – In a fairly even contest, Costa Rica were beaten by a superb free kick from Aleksander Kolarov in the 56th minute.

LIKELY LINE UPS

Brazil – (4-3-3) Allisson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Coutinho, Paulinho; Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Willian

Costa Rica – (3-4-2-1) Navas; Zwane, Gonzalez, Duarte; Gamboa, Borges, Guzman, Calvo; Ruiz, Venegas; Urenas

PREDICTIONS

Despite stuttering to an opening draw against Switzerland, some of Brazil’s attacking play early on leads me to believe they will be just fine getting through the group stage. I expect them to help themselves to a few goals here. Brazil 3-0 Costa Rica

TIPS

Neymar to score a brace – 4/1

Brazil 3-0 – 11/2

Brazil to score 2+ goals, 6+ Brazil corners and 20+ Costa Rica booking points – 15/8

 

NIGERIA vs ICELAND

Group D – 4pm BST – Volgograd

LAST TIME OUT

Croatia 2-0 Nigeria – An own goal by Oghenekaro in the first half and a Luka Modric penalty was enough to see off Nigeria. They did create a decent number of chances but failed to capitalise on any.

Argentina 1-1 Iceland – Alfred Finnbogason wrote himself into history scoring Iceland’s first ever World Cup goal to cancel out Sergio Aguero’s opener. Lionel Messi missed a late penalty to seal a famous draw for Iceland.

LIKELY LINE UPS

Nigeria – (4-3-3) Uzoho; Shehu, Haddad, Balogun, Idowu; Oghenkaro, Ndidi, Mikel; Moses, Iwobi, Ighalo

Iceland – (4-4-1-1) Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason; Sigurdsson; Finnbogason

PREDICTIONS

Iceland were impressive against Argentina. They didn’t just sit back for the draw they really went at the Argies. Nigeria haven’t looked like a team with that much quality. Although, as England found in this host city, the heat could be difficult for Iceland. Nigeria 1-2 Iceland

TIPS

Iceland 2-1 – 10/1

Sigurdsson to score outside the area – 9/1

Finnbogason first goal and 2-1 Iceland – 35/1

 

SERBIA vs SWITZERLAND

Group E – 7pm BST – Kaliningrad

LAST TIME OUT

Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia – A superb free kick from Aleksander Kolarov earned Serbia a hard fought 1-0 victory against Costa Rica in an otherwise forgettable game.

Brazil 1-1 Switzerland – Steven Zuber equalised for Switzerland in a good performance from the Swiss. Coutinho had earlier scored a beauty from outside the box.

LIKELY LINE UPS

Serbia – (4-2-3-1) Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Milivojevic, Matic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Ljajic; Mitrovic

Switzerland – (4-2-3-1) Sommer; Lichsteiner, Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Dzemali, Zuber; Seferovic

PREDICTIONS

Switzerland won’t have seen anything in Serbia that will worry them. They were excellent against Brazil and I expect them to win this one. Serbia can be difficult to beat though so don’t be surprised if this isn’t the most open game. Serbia 0-1 Switzerland

TIPS

Switzerland 1-0 – 6/1

Seferovic first goalscorer – 15/2

Under 2.5 goals and Switzerland to win – 7/2

– Robert Shiers

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