On Sunday, Group E and Group F of the World Cup kick-off in Russia, as the likes of world champions Germany and favourites Brazil start their campaigns at the finals. Here is what is happening on day three of the World Cup:
Costa Rica v Serbia (kick-off 1 PM)
Costa Rica are seen by many as the underdogs to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition in Russia. However, Oscar Ramirez’s team enjoyed a decent qualification campaign and qualified second behind Mexico in the CONCACAF section.
Last time out in Brazil, they surprised everybody by making the quarter-finals of the competition from a group containing England, Italy and Uruguay. This will be their fifth finals and they will not fear any opponents in Russia.
Serbia topped their group in qualifying and returns to the World Cup after missing out last time out. Mladen Krstajic has a talented squad available to him and they will be confident of making the knockout stages at World Cup 2018.
The Eastern European nation has enjoyed mixed results in their recent friendlies. However, a 5-1 hammering of Bolivia last time out should send them into this competition in high spirits.
Draw under 2.5
Germany v Mexico (kick-off 4 PM)
World champions Germany look strong enough to become the first team since 1962 to retain the World Cup. Joachim Low’s squad is full of quality, as proven by a hundred per cent record in qualifying.
Die Mannschaft’s 2014 triumph followed to third place finishes in 2006 and 2010. In fact, the Germans worst finish in 40 years is only making the last 16 back in 1978. Die Mannschaft are true World Cup royalty. The champions look to have very few weaknesses in their team.
Whilst Mexico’s World cup is not quite as grand as Germany, El Tri has reached the knockout stages of the World Cup in the last six World Cups. Juan Carlos Osorio’s side will be looking to match their achievements of 1970 and 1986 when they reached the quarter-final stages in their home tournaments.
Mexico topped their group in qualifying, picking up an impressive tally of 21 points in the process. El Tri will fancy their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages, even if they suffer defeat in this clash.
Germany win and over 2.5 goals
Brazil v Switzerland (Kick-off 7 PM)
Brazil like Germany, are World Cup royalty, winning the competition a record five times. The Selecao recovered from a poor start in qualification to storm through to Russia 2018. Highly-rated head coach Tite has turned a talented group of players into a very strong team since his appointment in 2016.
Four years ago, Brazil were humiliated on home soil by Germany suffering a 7-1 defeat. Tite’s team will be determined to put things right this time around. The South American giants should just about have too much for their European opponents.
Switzerland were unfortunate not to automatically qualify for the World Cup automatically, as the Swiss won nine of their ten games in qualifying. Vladimir Petkovic’s did eventual book their place in Russia via a two-legged play-off against Northern Ireland.
They have qualified for the knockout stages in two of their last three appearances at the finals. Their biggest achievements at World Cups came in making the quarter-finals of the competition on three occasions way back in 1934, 1938 and 1950.
Switzerland heads into this game on the back of a six-game unbeaten run and are a tough side to beat. Petkovic’s side will be hopeful of qualifying for the last-16 from the group no matter what happens in this clash.
Who will kick-off Groups E and F in a positive fashion?