Thursday, November 15, 2018

Prediction: Serbia vs Brazil

Verdict: Away win & both teams to score

Best Odds: 13/5

Bookmaker: bet365

Having missed the opportunity to beat Switzerland last time out, Serbia now need to defeat mighty Brazil if they want to qualify for the knockout stages. The Selecao, on the other hand, narrowly avoided a shock setback against Costa Rica, meaning they now need one more point to secure their progress.

Serbia

Even though their star players have important roles to play in some of Europe’s top sides, Serbia have become known as perennial underachievers, due to the fact that they often punch below their weight at major tournaments. This is one of the reasons why there were no high hopes when the Eagles secured their place at the World Cup finals in Russia despite having players like Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Nemanja Matic, Luka Milivojevic, Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolarov and Adem Ljajic in the squad.

Serbia had a slow start to their opening fixture against Costa Rica, but then showed considerable improvement in the second half and deservedly secured an important victory. The Eagles then impressed in the first period of their group fixture against Switzerland, before seeing their performance drop and eventually ended up losing the game 2-1 as Xherdan Shaqiri scored the winner late on. This basically means that Serbia need to try and beat Brazil in order to go through, which should guarantee us an open encounter at Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow.

Team News

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic should keep his place in spite of an under-par performance against Switzerland, but Milos Veljkovic, Antonio Rukavina and Adem Ljajic are pushing for starting berths.

Brazil

Following the much publicised embarrassment at the 2014 World Cup, Brazil managed to rediscover their mojo since Tite took over and they strolled through the 2018 World Cup Qualifying, winning 41 points from 18 qualifiers. PSG superstar Neymar gave his compatriots a major injury scare few months ahead of the finals, but then shone on his return in warm-up fixtures, making the entire nation believe the Selecao are ready for an assault on the coveted trophy.

However, Brazil were pretty disappointing in their first two matches in Russia, sharing spoils with Switzerland, before needing two injury-time goals to defeat weak Costa Rica. Even though they are still in a good position to qualify for the first knockout stage, the Selecao obviously need to show massive improvement if they are to mount a serious title challenge, and we do expect them to rediscover their form in the crucial fixture against Serbia.

Team News

Douglas Costa and Danilo both miss out through injury, while Renato Augusto is expected to replace Paulinho in the starting line-up.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Brazil defeated Serbia 1-0 in a 2014 friendly
  • Serbia failed to get past the group stage in last two attempts
  • Brazil unbeaten in last 14 competitive fixtures
  • The Selecao conceded two goals in last ten games
  • Serbia scored 4 goals in last five World Cup matches

Conclusion

Even though the odds are stacked firmly against them, Serbia have no choice but to go for a win here, and while they have the potential to score, we seriously doubt the Eagles will get what they want. Brazil have got plenty of room for improvement and we expect them to emerge victorious from the clash.

Verdict: Away win & both teams to score

Best Odds: 13/5

Bookmaker: bet365

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