Kolarov’s free kick the difference in Serbia’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica
In the first match of a tricky Group E, Serbia was able to edge out Costa Rica. This game was a tight one; throughout the match both sides were neck and neck. The statistics will show that both teams had even stats across the board. But it was the Serbs who had the better scoring opportunities. In the 56th minute Serbian defender and captain Aleksandar Kolarov bends in a free kick from about 30 yards, giving Serbia the lead and ended up being the game deciding goal. Kolarov’s goal was the third direct free kick scored at this World Cup, already tying the amount scored at the previous World Cup through nine games. This is a crucial win for Serbia and a great way to start off their World Cup campaign in what looks to be a tricky and complicated Group E. Costa Rica looked to build off their quarter-finals run from four years ago but failed to get anything from this match. They will have to look elsewhere for points in this group.
Brazil stumble in 1-1 draw against Switzerland
Brazil came into this game not only the favorite to win this group, but one of the favorites to win the World Cup. Coutinho opened up the scoring in this game in the 20th minute with a finesse shot just outside the penalty box. It looked like that goal would kick start Brazil’s World Cup and win this game by multiple goals, but that was not the case. In the 50th minute the Swiss score through a header by defender Steven Zuber. In the 73rd minute Brazil could have possibly had a penalty when Gabriel Jesus was brought down in the box, no penalty was called. Throughout the game Brazil had more possession and majority of the chances, just they were not clinical with them. That is where the Swiss did tactically well; they did not give the Brazilians too much space for them to be able to create chances and when Brazil did have a bit of space in some moments they failed to take advantage of that. This game showed that Brazil, a World Cup contender, have some work to do and it starts in their next game against Costa Rica.
Current Standings in Group E after one game:
- Serbia 3 points, +1 Goal Difference
- Brazil 1 point, 0 Goal Difference
- Switzerland 1 point, 0 Goal Difference
- Costa Rica 0 points, -1 Goal Difference
Preview for the second games in Group E
Brazil vs Costa Rica June 22nd, 2018, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Brazil comes into this game needing a win from this game if they want to win this group, like they were projected to do. Costa Rica on the other will need a win from this game to keep hopes alive of getting out of the group. These two teams have met twice at the World Cup before, both during the group stage and both games resulting in wins for Brazil (1990 and 2002). Brazil will look to have a better day at the attacking side of the ball than they had against Switzerland and finally produce some goals, especially with the offensive firepower this Brazil team has.
Prediction: Brazil 3-0
Serbia vs Switzerland June 22nd, 2018, Kaliningrad, Russia
Serbia will look to carry over their momentum from their victory over Costa Rica into this game. The Serbs looked good defensively and they have great players who are able to create goal scoring opportunities like Dušan Tadić and Sergej Milinković-Savić. Switzerland come into this game feeling good about themselves after their game against Brazil, especially after being able to keep Brazil to only one goal. This game will be a tough one as both teams have shown that they are excellent at defending. As of a result of that this game will come down to which team will take advantage of their goal scoring opportunities, cause there will not be many. Also both teams have a good chance at advancing out of this group with a win. Serbia with a win will qualify for the Round of 16 after two games, while a win for Switzerland would bolster their chance of getting out of the group heading into the third and final game of this group.
Prediction: Serbia 1-0