#WorldCup2018 Profile: Can Neymar and Brazil handle the huge expectations on their shoulders in Group E?

Neymar JR

Brazil’s very own, Neymar, is unanimously the biggest star in Group E of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He will be looking to lead his Brazil side all the way to World Cup glory like great Brazilian legends before him like Pele and Ronaldo, to achieve the legendary status that befits his talent. Brazil will do battle with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia for qualification to the second round from a group that should prove easy to coast through.

Brazil’s manager Tite plays a very progressive 4-3-3 formation. Roma’s Alisson Becker is favoured ahead of Man City’s Ederson, Miranda will lead the defensive line partnered by either Thiago Silva or Marquinhos who are ball playing centre-backs. Brazil build-up play from the back to a very solid midfield three and their frontline of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Coutinho is very fluid with Neymar having the licence to roam anywhere. Brazil have a strong back up in their starting eleven and are easily favourites to win the World Cup although they tend to rely heavily on Neymar.

2014 World Cup quarter-finalist, Costa Rica is a very experienced side. Only four players in the squad are younger than 25 and 10 of the players in the roster have 50 caps or more. They play a 3-4-3 formation that morphs into a 5-4-1 in defence. Costa Rica play wide and direct with Celtic’s Christian Gamboa and Sunderland’s Bryan Oviedo are fullbacks that add pace and threat to combine with the wingers in attack. It is unlikely they will qualify out of this group but they could frustrate one of the two European sides.

Serbia is one of my personal favourite sides. They play a solid 4-2-3-1 led upfront by Aleksandar Mitrovic a tenacious and aggressive centre-forward. The backline is shielded by Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic of Crystal Palace. Aleksandar Kolarov offers them a deadly threat on set pieces and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic one of Europe’s hottest prospects plays the no. 10 role with support from Southampton’s Dusan Tadic. Milinkovic-Savic will look to pick the ball up and distribute to wide areas to find Mitrovic with crosses into the box. Serbia is a real contender in this group and will be a tough nut to crack.

Switzerland play a 4-2-3-1 formation that focuses in on releasing their two integral players out wide Xherdan  Shaqiri who likes to tuck in and Breel Embolo who likes to stretch play out wide. Valon Behrami offers a passing option to the defence from the midfield while attacking midfielder Blerim Dzemaili also comes deep to press when out of possession. Switzerland is a solid team and it will likely go down between them and Serbia for second place.

Predictions

  1. Brazil {Group Winners}
  2. Serbia
  3. Switzerland {Dark Horses}
  4. Costa Rica

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