The feared Brazilians come from the most brutal exits in a disastrous performance against Germany in a 7-1 onslaught at Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.
Brazil hopes to give a lift to their reputation in Russia. They don’t seem to run out of talents. It makes perfect sense that Brazil is one of the favorites for the trophy.
They won 5 World Cup titles, 7 Copa America trophies and 4 Confederations cup titles. Winning isn’t a choice – it is in the Brazilian core when it comes to football
To watch out for: Too many players to watch out for but Neymar remains the poster boy. The question is how will the new faces handle their first major tournament appearance. Someone like Gabriel Jesus.
His talent is huge, but can he show it on the biggest scene the world can offer? Or will it be a lot of pressure on the young man’s shoulders? Time will tell!
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica & Serbia.
It was a perfect group stage in the European qualifiers. But Portugal woke up and surpassed the Swiss side. They needed to battle Northern Ireland in a hard-fought playoff matchup.
Coach Vladimir Petkovic plays a controlled possession-based style. He has a talented young defense and a sharp offense with flair and talent. This is an interesting team who look solid all over the field.
Their FIFA rank is 11, which says something about the recent successful campaigns they had.
For being a European side, they have good physicality in the squad in Granit Xhaka, Blerim Dzemaili, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schär.
The group is tough with Brazil, Serbia, and Costa Rica, but the Swiss have good chances of points in all three games.
To watch out for: Breel Embolo is born in 1997. At 20 years of age already have a place in the national team. He usually sparks when coming off from the bench. He is physical and technical and a true X-factor for Switzerland.
Even if Mexico finished top of the group, Costa Rica successfully clinched a spot in Russia after securing the second place in the qualifiers.
They are arriving in Russia with a different status than last time when they were more of an unknown national team. Nowadays they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Keylor Navas and gained valuable experience from major tournaments.
The lack of youth is obvious, as Costa Rica has one of the oldest squads on paper, just behind Saudi Arabia in that category.
Coach Oscar Ramirez will try to recreate the success of the team but it is certainly a difficult task in a tricky group consisting of Brazil, Switzerland, and Serbia.
The Costa Ricans have no obvious star-man in the final third, but similar to the recent years it is a hard-working squad which is how they reached success at big scenes before and won people’s hearts all over the world.
That being said, in a tough group – Costa Rica’s chances are slim, but they can definitely strike from an underdog position.
To watch out for: The experienced Celso Borges on the midfield is not a spectacular player, but always gets the job done when he is on the pitch.
In modern football, it is full of step-overs and flair, which is why players like Celso Borges is rare when he plays and keeps it simple.
He makes a lot of the dirty job in disguise. We can also expect to see some spectacular saves from Keylor Navas with his cat-like reflexes.
After securing the place in Russia, Serbia sacked their coach Slavoljub Muslin. He was criticized for his team selection and defensive tactic.
Whatever Muslin did, it worked and made Serbia finish top of the group ahead of Ireland and Wales. Mladen Krstajic is now in charge for the pre-friendlies but the coaching carousel might not be finished just yet.
Serbia has a solid base of players. Offensively Dusan Tadic, Adem Ljajic, and Filip Kostic are a technically gifted trio.
The most exciting part about Serbia is to see their starlet Sergej Milinković-Savić. He is emerging to a real top class midfielder at 22 years of age. Already a key piece of Lazio in the Serie A.
Similarly to many Balkan teams, the technical level of Serbia is high. The defensive work rate likewise. If they get the teamwork properly along with a stable coach on the sideline, Serbia is a team that can progress.
To watch out for: Sergej Milinkovic Savic is talented and will have many eyes on him. Being born in 1995, he is the second highest transfer market valued player in this Serbian team.