On Friday, Group D and E of the World Cup reach their second games. The games could help decide who continues to participate in Russia and who heads home after the group stage. Here is what is happening on another exciting day at Russia 2018:
Brazil v Costa Rica (Kick-off 1 PM)
Brazil kicked-off Russia 2018 as one of the favourites to lift the trophy. However, a 1-1 draw in their opening Group E game against Switzerland has rather brought the Selecao back down to earth.
The draw against the Swiss did at least extend their unbeaten run in international football to 12 games, eight of which Tite’s side have won. The South American giants will be highly confident of recording a victory in this clash, especially as they have now conceded just once in their last six outings.
Costa Rica opened their campaign with a rather lacklustre performance in a 1-0 defeat by Serbia in their opening match. The 2014 semi-finalists know that they cannot afford a repeat of that result against Brazil.
The defeat should not come as a surprise, as Tite’s side have won just two of their last 11 international outings. A record of four defeats from their last five outings is a concerning one especially playing a team like Brazil. The Central American country now has it all to do to qualify from Group E.
Brazil win and over 2.5 goals
Nigeria v Iceland (Kick-off 4 PM)
Nigeria are making their sixth appearance at a World Cup but made a poor start to their campaign by losing 2-0 against Croatia in their opening game of Russia 2018.
In an open group, the Super Eagles will have seen qualification as a realistic aim. However, the unpredictable African nation now knows that a victory in this game is necessary, as they face Argentina in the last group game.
The defeat was not completely unexpected, as they headed into the competition on the back of a four-game winless run. They have now failed to win in five games, suffering four defeats in the process.
Iceland continued to surprise people by drawing 1-1 with group favourites Argentina in their opening group game. The smallest nation to ever participate in a World Cup will be confident of pulling off their first ever win at a World Cup.
However, Heimar Hallgrimsson’s side has now failed to win in their last five international matches, so are in similar form to their opponents.
Iceland win and under 2.5 goals
Serbia v Switzerland (Kick-off 7 PM)
Serbia kicked off their World Cup campaign with a narrow victory over Costa Rica courtesy of a sublime strike from former-Manchester City defender Aleksandr Kolarov.
The win has laid good foundations for Mladen Krstajic’s side to make the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 1998. They headed into the tournament in mixed form, but a win would likely be enough to book their place in the knockout stages of Russia 2018.
Switzerland recorded a very respectable 1-1 draw with Brazil in their World Cup opener. Vladimir Petkovic’s side has now suffered just one defeat in their last 18 international games.
Their games have been low scoring in recent months, as seven of their last eight games have produced under 2.5 goals. This game could well follow suit.
A win for Petkovic’s side in a likely contest would put them in a good position to qualify from the group for the knockout stages. It is interesting to note that they made it to the last 16 in two of the last three World Cups, so have a decent pedigree.
Draw and under 2.5 goals
Who will pull off the big results in Friday’s World Cup games?