Can Brazil Forget About Their 2014 Demons?
Four years on from the most humiliating football match in the history of the game, Brazil are once again one of the favourites to take home the World Cup trophy. An incredibly talented squad lead by Neymar and coached by the incomparable Tite, Brazil are expected to go far in the tournament.
There are only two factors that may stop them:
A) Neymar’s temperament. He is normally the best player on the pitch but is not immune from moments of stupidity as shown in qualifying when he got suspended for four games when Brazil had already won the game.
And B) the wounds of 2014 are still open and healing. Football is a religion in Brazil and the 7-1 defeat to Germany has left a deep scar that only a World Cup victory could heal. Can they deliver on that? As mentioned above they have a strong squad attacking wise but their are still defensive frailties that could be exposed by good teams. Marcelo is a prime example of that. Brilliant going forward, but he simply cannot defend. If they are to win in 2018, it may be a case of trying to score 3 or 4 a game with Brazil.
Their opponents are an underrated Switzerland team. They have players that are recognisable to many, such as Granit Xhaka, Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Xherdan Shaqiri and have shown on more than one occasion that they are capable of frustrating top opponents. Most recently, they held an attacking Spain side to a 1-1 draw.
We expect Brazil to win, but it may not be as easy as some expect.
Philippe Coutinho scored one of the goals of the tournament with a stunning shot that cannoned off the post and in. But the men in yellow then sat back and allowed Switzerland into the game. Steven Zuber scored the equaliser and it stayed 1-1.
Bets Of The Day –
Player To Watch – Gabriel Jesus
Young, exciting, and he has solved Brazil’s striker problem. Expect him to score goals during the tournament.
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The next big game of the day sees the defending champions Germany take on Mexico in arguably their toughest group match. Of course, Germany are the heavy favourites here, but the build up to the tournament has been far from ideal for them. Manuel Neuer has been injured for the majority of the year, and Jerome Boateng pulled up with an injury during the Champions League so he is short of game time too.
There have also been questions on why Leroy Sane has been left out of the 23-man squad, considering how unbelievably good he was all year for Manchester City.
Despite these problems, we still expect Germany to be tough to beat this year and with the majority of the team having already won the World Cup, they know what it takes to win.
Their opponents Mexico are hard to predict. At times they do not comfortable under Juan Carlos Osario’s system, but the proof is in the pudding as they have won a lot of games using it. However during the World Cup friendlies, as soon as they faced a quality side, like Croatia or Denmark, then they struggled.
However, Mexico put on a spirited defensive performance stopping Germany at every turn. A 1-0 victory was the result thanks to a Hirving Lozano goal and it could have been more with Germany frail on the counter attack on more than one occasion. A truly stunning World Cup shock which could set up a next round tie between Germany and Brazil.
The other two teams in Group E are Costa Rica and Serbia. Costa Rica four years ago shocked the world topping a group that had England, Uruguay and Italy. However they are not expected to repeat their heroics this year. Serbia are an unknown entity because they have some very good players, but are missing that one superstar player who can change a game for them.
It proved to be a very good game with Aleksandr Kolarov’s free kick eventually being the winner.
GOAL! What a free-kick from Kolarov. The Serbian captain from 25-yards out finds the postage stamp with his trusty left-boot pic.twitter.com/sYxDRE9cgE
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 17, 2018
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