FIFA World Cup 2018: Group E Preview

The fifth group of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is Group E. It comprises of five-time Champions Brazil, Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland.

Here’s a brief look at all these teams.

Brazil:

The most successful nation in the FIFA World Cup history, Brazil has once again garnered big reputation leading up to the tournament.

With coach Tite has an extremely talented roster at his disposal. The South American nation will be looking to avenge the humiliating 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany.

World Cup
Captain Neymar will have the hopes of the entire nation on his shoulders. Photo Courtesy: Twitter

In fact, it has been a while since the country enjoyed an international tournament joy their Copa America victory in 2007.

Even though they did clinch the Gold Medal in the Rio Olympics 2016, but the criteria for the squads is focused on players who play U-23.

However, led by the most expensive player in the history of football, Neymar, Brazil are once again the perennial contenders for the trophy.

Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Willian, Casemiro, Marcelo, Thiago Silva make an unparalleled spine of the team where youth and experience come together to form a formidable bond.

Key Players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Philippe Coutinho

Verdict: Semi-Finals

Costa Rica:

One of the success stories of the 2014 World Cup was Costa Rica when they managed to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Not only that, they managed to do this by getting past the “Group of Death” where they progressed along with Uruguay, leaving Italy and England behind.

World Cup
Bryan Ruiz will be eyeing to emulate the WC 2014 success. Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas will be guarding the goalpost for the team.

Their captain Bryan Ruiz has a wealth of experience in playing in major European Leagues and will once again anchor the side.

Meanwhile, this team has one of the highest average age amongst its team. Celso Borges, Johnny Acosta, Christian Bolanos along with captain Ruiz are all in their 30s.

Joel Campbell is probably the only known player in the team who is under 25-years of age.

But, having been given a favourable draw this time out, Costa Rica might have real chance of making it past the group stage one more time.

Key Players: Bryan Ruiz, Joel Campbell, Keylor Navas

Verdict: Group Stage

Serbia:

Serbia is making its return after failing to qualify for the previous world cup. They had a phenomenal qualification group performance where they topped the table and ousted Euro 2016 semi-finalist Wales in the process.

World Cup
This might be veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic’s final WC. Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Led by AS Roma full-back Aleksandr Kolarov and Manchester United’s defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic, the team boasts of player who have performed well at the highest level of the game.

23-year-old forward Aleksandar Mitrovic is a bright prospect and has always done well whenever he has represented his country.

The team’s strength is their diversity of midfielders with the likes of Luka Milivojevic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Adem Llajic and Dusan Tadic.

Key Players: Alesandr Kolorov, Nemanja Matic, Dusan Tadic

Verdict: Group Stage

Switzerland:

The European nation will be making their fourth consecutive World Cup appearance after winning the play-off tie against Northern Ireland.

They too had a fruitful qualifying group where they won nine games in a row only to be halted by Portugal in the 10th and final game.

Xherdan Shaqiri has an opportunity to show his mercurial talents. Photo Courtesy: Twitter

The team’s mentality has been shaped by their coach Vladimir Petkovic, who led the side to the last 16 in the UEFA Euro 2016. The team banks on their creative midfielders such as Arenal player Granit Xhaka and Blerim Dzemaili.

Moreover, they also have the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Ricardo Rodriguez in the team. The duo are pacy players, an asset that comes handy if the team is required to do counter-attacks.

They are ranked sixth in the world, and it’s time for the Swiss to prove their worth one more time.

Key Players: Xherdan Shaqiri, Ricardo Rodriguez, Granit Xhaka

Verdict: Round of 16

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