Kaliningrad hosts the day’s second World Cup (WC) Group E game between Serbia and Switzerland, and both sides will look to kick on following positive results in the first round of games.
Serbia topped the group after their narrow victory over the unfancied Costa Rica (1-0), whilst the Swiss held pre-tournament favourites Brazil to a 1-1 draw with an organised display. Brazil can say grateful to god when their team just get three points beat costa rica. 2 goals in injury time. Coutinho and Neymar JR.
In the final minute, Neymar got his revenge, turning home a pass from the substitute Douglas Costa behind a helpless Navas. When the final whistle blew moments later, he collapsed to knees in tears at the center of the field, covering his eyes again, this time overcome by the emotion of the narrow escape.
Tite didn’t escape unscathed, either. Rushing the field to celebrate the first goal, he got tripped up and tumbled to the grass.
“I kind of pulled a muscle,” he said later. “It tore some fibers. I’m limping during the celebration.”
Standing Group E:
- Brazil 4 Points
- Serbia 3 Points
- Switzerland 1 Points
- Costa Rica 0 Points
That opening day victory was Serbia’s first since France ‘98, although the Serbians have not won consecutive games in a WC finals since Italia ‘90.
This will be the first meeting between the sides since the breakup of Yugoslavia, and although it may have little bearing on this, Switzerland have won just two of their 13 historical meetings with Serbia as part of Yugoslavia (W2, D5, L6).
Vladimir Petković’s Switzerland side are in high spirits ahead of the match, and goal scorer Steven Zuber is confident of his side’s chances ahead of the tie, saying: “We will find out Serbia’s weak points”.
Players to watch: Sergej Milinković-Savić looked a force in midfield during Serbia’s opener – the 23-year-old prospect scored 12 goals in 35 Serie A appearances for Lazio last term.
Xherdan Shaqiri (SUI) was the outstanding performer in the opening game, and the much sought after midfielder is seeking his fourth goal at a WC finals.
Stat attack: Switzerland can extend their unbeaten run to eight (including friendlies) should they avoid defeat here (W4, D3).
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Serbia will qualify for the knockout stages with a win, whilst Switzerland should still have a chance even if they lose.
Each of Switzerland’s last four games (WC) have featured under 2.5 goals in total, and three of Serbia’s last four (WC) have produced the same.
Seven of Switzerland’s last eight games in all competitions have produced under 2.5 goals.
Referee: Brych F. (Ger)
Venue: Kaliningrad Stadium (Kaliningrad)