World Cup Group E: Maximum points to get Brazil underway?
The World Cup has arrived, and we can’t wait to see 32 nations battle it out in Russia.
We’ll be bringing you plenty of in-depth coverage throughout the tournament, starting with our comprehensive previews of every group.
Today’s focus is on Group E, featuring Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
Brazil are the overwhelming favourites to win the group and second-favourites for the tournament. As for the other three teams, it’s anyone’s guess where they’ll finish up in what will likely be a race for second spot.
Here’s the key info…
FIFA Ranking: 2.
Qualification: Topped CONMEBOL, losing only one game in the process.
Star player: Neymar.
How far will they go? Redemption for 2014 is high on the agenda as Brazil bid to go deep in Russia. They’ll be eyeing a spot in the final.
Odds to win World Cup: 4/1
Fun fact: Brazil have scored more goals in the last four World Cups combined than England have at every WC to have been held since 1966.
FIFA Ranking: 6
Manager: Vladimir Petkovic.
Qualification: Beat Northern Ireland 1-0 on aggregate in the play-offs after finishing level on points behind Portugal in the groups.
Star player: Xherdan Shaqiri.
How far will they go? The Swiss will be hopeful of an extended run in Russia. They’re favourites to finish second in Group E and will likely face Mexico or Sweden in the last-16.
Odds to win World Cup: 100/1
Fun fact: Switzerland were the first side in history to exit the World Cup without conceding a goal in 2006. They even failed to score in the shootout against Ukraine, losing 0-3.
FIFA Ranking: 25
Manager: Oscar Ramirez
Qualification: Finished runners-up behind Mexico in the fifth round of CONCACAF to secure their spot in Russia.
Star player: Bryan Ruiz.
How far will they go? They made the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago, but a last-16 berth seems more realistic this time around, and even that’s pushing it.
Odds to win World Cup: 250/1.
Fun fact: Costa Rica’s three wins at the last World Cup doubled their overall tally from their previous three appearances at the tournament.
FIFA Ranking: 35
Manager: Mladen Krstajic
Qualification: Beat Wales and Republic of Ireland to top Group D in UEFA qualifying and progress automatically.
Star player: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
How far will they go? A talented squad has the ability to do well at this tournament, but it all depends on their head- to-head matches against Switzerland and Costa Rica.
Odds to win World Cup: 150/1
Fun fact: Serbia are competing at their 13th World Cup under their fifth different name.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication