To no one's surprise, Brazil is a heavy favorite to advance out of their group, but when it comes to who will join them, it appears all three teams have a legimate shot. Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica all have decent odds to advance, but who priveds the most value in this 2018 World Cup Group?
Covers Experts’ Soccer Authority previews the best ways to wager on Group E and the 2018 World Cup betting odds.
FIFA Ranking: 2nd
World Cup Odds: +400
Group qualification odds: Yes -1,600/No +1,000
Qualification: Brazil took on Tite as their head coach back in June of 2016 and haven’t looked back since. Under his stewardship, they dominated CONMEBOL qualifying, topping the group with 41 points, which was 10 more than second placed Uruguay.
History: Brazil have won the competition a record five times and have made it at least to the quarterfinals in all but one of the last eight World Cups.
Head Coach: Tite
Players to watch: Neymar, Coutinho, Firmino and Marcelo
Stage of elimination: Brazil have the quality to go all the way if their star men can stay healthy throughout the tournament. Expect the Seleção to make it to at least the Final.
FIFA Ranking: 25th
World Cup Odds: +50,000
Group qualification odds: Yes +350/No -500
Qualification: Costa Rica were slightly fortunate to make it to the World Cup netting only four wins from their 10 games. They relied on a 95th-minute goal against Honduras in the final game to secure their qualification, finishing second in CONCACAF qualification just behind Mexico.
History: Costa Rica made the quarterfinals last time around which was their best ever finish in a World Cup.
Head Coach: Óscar Ramírez
Players to watch: Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Oscar Duarte, and Bryan Ruiz
Stage of elimination: Costa Rica will prove once more to be a tough nut to crack. Expect them to compete with Switzerland for second place in this group, which should set up a meeting with Germany (presuming they win their group). Progressing any further than the Round of 16 would be highly unlikely in our opinion.
FIFA Ranking: 35th
World Cup Odds: +20,000
Group qualification odds: Yes +120/No -150
Qualification: Serbia topped their group in the UEFA World Cup qualifiers. However, in hindsight their main competition in the Group (Wales, Ireland, and Austria) played quite poorly throughout the campaign, so it’s hard to gauge what level this Serbian side is at right now.
History: Serbia (Former Yugoslavia) is appearing for the 12th time at a World Cup, so it's no stranger to the stage. However, it hasn’t advanced past the Group Stage since 1998.
Head Coach: Mladen Krstajić
Players to watch: Kolarov, Tadic, Matic, and Mitrovic
Stage of elimination: Although Serbia does have a lot of “star” quality in its squad, they didn’t overly impress us in qualification and probably have the weakest defence in this group. We don’t see them getting out of the group stages this time around.
FIFA Ranking: 6th
World Cup Odds: +10,000
Group qualification odds: Yes +100/No -125
Qualification: Switzerland had an impressive qualification campaign finishing level on points with Portugal in Group B. However, they were helped along their way in the play-off with Northern Ireland after a dubious penalty decision went in their favour.
History: Since USA ‘94 the Swiss have qualified four times and made the knockout rounds on three occasions.
Head Coach: Vladimir Petković
Players to watch: Xhaka, Shaqiri, and Embolo
Stage of elimination: As we said above, we believe Costa Rica and Switzerland will fight it out for second in this group, but progressing further than the Round of 16 is very unlikely in our eyes as they’ll likely face Germany.
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