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World Cup 2018: A comprehensive look at Group E

Shyam Kamal
1.12K   //    11 Jun 2018, 16:12 IST

Group E of the 2018 World Cup
Group E of the 2018 World Cup

Group E of the World Cup consists of multiple winners Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia as part of the European contingent, and Costa Rica from the CONCACAF qualifiers.

Considering the other groupings, the match between Switzerland and Brazil will be super important, as the second placed team in the group will have to face Group F toppers (Germany, most likely) in the RO16.

The group is fairly straight-forward at this time, with Brazil being clear favorites to be eventual winners. The second placed team will be a close fight between Switzerland and Serbia, with Costa Rica playing the role of spoilers.

Most likely to go through to the RO16: Brazil, close call between Switzerland and Costa Rica

#1 Brazil

Brazil v Argentina - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier
Being favorites is not a new feeling for Brazil

The last time Brazil was not a favorite to win the World Cup was in 1929, when the concept of the 'World Cup' hadn't yet been founded. Since then, Brazil has always been pointed to as possible winners, and this might be their best chance in the last few attempts.

Brazil thrashed their way though the CONMEBOL qualifiers, finishing a massive 10 points ahead of runners-up Uruguay and destroying them 4-1 in the process. Brazil was also the first team to book their place in Russia, and are massive favorites to win in Russia.

Coach: Tite

Tite's Brazil transformed from a team that might be on course to miss the WC, to winning the qualifiers with incredible ease, to entering the tournament as clear favorites to reach at least the final. His influence on the team has been nothing short of extraordinary.

When Tite took over from Dunga, Brazil were 6th on the table, and all of Brazil was waiting for the inevitable. 9 straight wins from then on, and in an incredible fashion restored Brazil to their usual position at the top. There has been no stopping them ever since.

During his successful stint at Corinthians, Tite was famous for his defensive discipline and he has reciprocated that at the national team. The availability of naturally talented attackers makes the job easier for him, as Brazil has individuals who can win games on their own.

Brazil's squad for the World Cup
Brazil's squad for the World Cup

The goalkeeper position is stacked for Brazil, with Roma's Alisson getting the nod ahead of Manchester City's Ederson.

The fact that Ederson will not be getting into the starting XI after an excellent season is enough proof of Alisson's quality, and Brazil will have a brilliant keeper in goal for them.

The defense is a man back-line consisting of Danilo, Marquinhos, Miranda and Marcelo. Surprisingly, Thiago Silva is not a sure starter for the team, and will fight it out with fellow PSG mate Marquinhos for the CB position.

The loss of Dani Alves is a concern for Brazil, as Alves is their preferred right back. Despite Danilo being an able back-up, he is not as useful when going forward. Another option is Corinthians' Fagner, but Tite has indicated that Danilo will be the starter.

Brazil usually plays a three-man midfield - comprising of Paulinho, Coutinho and Casemiro against more defensive teams. As Barcelona fans know, Paulinho has the knack of showing up in unexpected places at the right time and can score goals regularly.

Casemiro will play a role similar to that at Real Madrid, while Coutinho works as the play-maker from the back. Against offensive teams, Fernandinho gets into the side at the expense of Coutinho, who can come in as a super-sub or start as the right winger.

The attack features Jesus at the centre and Neymar on the left, and the two will play almost all minutes. The right wing position is contested between Chelsea's Willian and Juventus' Douglas Costa, with Willian being Tite's preferred player.

Willian's work rate is better than Douglas Costa's and for that reason, Willian will play against more attacking teams. Liverpool's Firmino will act as the back-up for Jesus, and will play against teams that like to hold the ball. Despite being a striker, he is a very good tackler and will add a new dimension to the side.

A rotating supporting cast of Fred, Taison and Augusto in attack against tired legs late in the game is also a very lucrative opportunity, one Brazil will look to exploit so very often.

Croatia v Brazil - International Friendly
Will Brazil's golden boy finally bring back what they have always wanted?

Player to watch out for: Neymar

Brazil's golden boy has spent almost half of the season on the sidelines after an injury, but he is back in time for the World Cup, fitter and fresher than everyone else around him.

Before the injury, Neymar was every bit the player he was rumored to be and the WC might seal his promise as the heir to Messi and Ronaldo.

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