World Cup 2018 Preview – Groups E & F

Group E

The Teams

 Brazil (FIFA Rank: 2nd, 6-2-0 in last year)
 Switzerland (FIFA Rank: 6th, 7-2-1 in last year)
 Costa Rica (FIFA Rank: 23rd, 6-3-5 in last year)
 Serbia (FIFA Rank: 34th, 5-0-3 in last year)

The Schedule (All times Eastern)

Costa Rica vs Serbia – 8 AM on 6/17, Fox
Brazil vs Switzerland – 2 PM on 6/17, FS1
Brazil vs Costa Rica – 8 AM on 6/22, FS1
Serbia vs Switzerland – 2PM on 6/22, Fox
Serbia vs Brazil – 2PM on 6/27, TBD (Fox or FS1)
Switzerland vs Costa Rica – 2PM on 6/27, TBD (Fox or FS1)

Preview/Picks

This group is obviously headlined by Brazil and a returning Neymar, and barring a disastrous injury, Seleção should make it through to the knockout stage. Where this group gets interesting though, is the tight battle for second. Will it be red hot Switzerland, a Costa Rica team that made the quarterfinals in the 2014 World Cup, or will it be Serbia, playing in their first tournament under new manager Mladen Krstajić? Any game not involving Brazil in this group stage will be must watch, as I could see any of these three making it into the knockout rounds, but I will have to go with Switzerland as my pick to make it through. Led by Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, I have Switzerland just barely edging out Serbia and Costa Rica on goal difference after a draw between Switzerland and Costa Rica on the final matchday of the group stage.

 Brazil – 9 points
 Switzerland – 2 points
 Serbia – 2 points
 Costa Rica – 2 points

Group F

The Teams

 Germany (FIFA Rank: 1st, 9-2-2 in last year)
 Mexico (FIFA Rank: 15th, 10-4-6 in last year)
 Sweden (FIFA Rank: 24th, 3-3-4 in last year)
 South Korea (FIFA Rank: 57th, 5-5-4 in last year)

The Schedule (All times Eastern)

Germany vs Mexico – 11 AM on 6/17, FS1
Sweden vs South Korea – 8 AM on 6/18, FS1
South Korea vs Mexico – 11 AM on 6/23, Fox
Germany vs Sweden – 2 PM on 6/23, Fox
Mexico vs Sweden – 10 AM on 6/27, TBD (Fox or FS1)
South Korea vs Germany – 10 AM on 6/27, TBD (Fox or FS1)

Preview/Picks

Germany looks to avoid the infamous trope of the previous World Cup champion losing in the group stage that plagued Italy and Spain in 2010 and 2014 respectively. This German side is arguably the best in the tournament despite over half of the team being new from that 2014 World Cup champion squad. The top contender to unseat Germany in this group will be El Tri, Mexico. Mexico had just one loss in the hexagonal CONCACAF Qualifying. Mexico won the gold medal for soccer in the 2012 Olympics and reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. Mexico’s top challenger to advance will be Sweeden, making the matchup between the two sides on the final matchday of the tournament ultra important. In that decisive match I’m taking Mexico on the backs of their attacking midfield that netted them 16 goals in CONCACAF qualifying, second only to the United State’s 17.

 Germany – 7 points
 Mexico – 7 points
 Sweden – 3 points
 South Korea – 0 points

Leave a Reply