Day 4 of the 2018 World Cup promises to be one of the most star studded set of fixtures, with Groups E and F getting into action – Costa Rica face Serbia in the aperitif, followed by defending World Cup champions Germany clashing with Mexico and the main course being this World Cup’s favorites Brazil playing against Switzerland.
Costa Rica vs Serbia
Serbia are back in the World Cup after missing out on the Brazil affair, while Costa Rica are coming in, for the first time, not expected to bow out after the group stage, at least by some. Both sides haven’t been impressive in the matches leading up to the tournament, but things have been particularly poor for Costa Rica, losing against England, Belgium and Tunisia. Serbia have been going through the motions, relying on a talented midfield unit, hoping it can prevent the Central American side from exposing their slow and cumbersome defense.
Prediction: Serbia aren’t the most explosive side in this tournament, but they should have enough to make things uncomfortable for Costa Rica and win.
Germany vs Mexico
One of the most anticipated matches in the group stage, which will give us a terrific indication of just how good this Mexico side is, assuming Germany will give us more of the usual. The Mexicans, as always, boast a talented side that always seems to be missing one or two players who truly belong among those labeled ‘World Class’. In Germany they’ll meet a foe perhaps lacking one singular star, but as we’ve seen in this tournament, having one player regarded above the rest doesn’t promise anything, except more pressure.
Prediction: In what promises to be a high-scoring affair, Germany’s blend of experience, speed and talent up front will be a bit much for Mexico, who’ll have to look for points elsewhere.
Brazil vs Switzerland
The redemption tour for Neymar and co. (even if he wasn’t on the field for that 7-1 loss against Germany) begins against a German-speaking country of all foes, but one they should be able to dispatch. Tite’s side presents the deepest and most well-balanced Selecao side since their triumph in 2002. Switzerland have the tools to make it troublesome for them, but the lack of a formidable striker will make it difficult to put the Brazilians in uncomfortable situations for more than sporadic occasions.
Prediction: Brazil kick off their 2018 World Cup experience with a win, although it might not be as comfortable as some expect.