World Cup Group E: Key stats, info and odds
Favourites Brazil and Switzerland in the mix
Group E is arguably the strongest of the lot at this summer’s World Cup.
And it’s the latest to be covered at Coral News HQ, with all the need-to-know info below. Brazil are likely to top the group, but there could be a thrilling battle for second spot…
Manager: Current boss Tite has had a nomadic management career, This is his 17th job to date. The 57-year-old’s career highlight thus far is a 2012 Copa Libertadores triumph with Corinthians.
Best WC result: Nobody can match Brazil’s five World Cup titles. The first came in 1958, the most recent in 2002. However, they’ve not won any of the last six staged in Europe.
How they play: Selecao tend to go with a 4-1-4-1 system, utilising the pace and skill of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho out wide. Gabriel Jesus leads the line.
One to watch: The majority of this squad are already bonafide star names, but this is a first World Cup for Jesus. He could be the difference in helping Brazil lift the trophy.
Things to consider: As many people’s favourites, the pressure is once again on Brazil this summer.
There’s no doubt they have the quality within their ranks to lift the trophy – but they’ll need significantly more resolve than we saw in 2014’s humiliating exit to Germany.
Manager: Head coach Vladimir Petkovic took the reins in 2014, directly after Switzerland’s last-16 World Cup exit. A steady hand, he managed homeland clubs Young Boys and Bellinzona with moderate success.
Best WC result: The Swiss have reached the quarter-finals three times – though not since 1954. After a barren patch, they made it to the last 16 in 1994, 2006 and 2014.
How they play: Few sides stick to a formula as faithfully as Switzerland do their 4-2-3-1. Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler anchor the midfield, with Haris Seferovic the lone striker.
One to watch: AC Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez offers both a physical presence and creativity on the left flank. He also netted three times in qualifying.
Things to consider: Once again, the Swiss were highly impressive in qualifying – winning nine of their 10 group games, before a play-off triumph over Northern Ireland.
However, they’ve often struggled to repeat the creativity they’ve showed in qualifying on the big stage. Perform to the level they did to reach the WC, and they could have a summer to remember.
Manager: Head coach Oscar Ramirez took the job in 2015. A one-time assistant for the national side, he later enjoyed success with Costa Rican club side Alajuelense.
Best WC result: The 2014 tournament in Brazil saw the best of their four attempts to date. La Sele topped a group containing England and Italy, eventually reaching the quarter-finals.
How they play: Ramirez tends to pack the defence, with a 5-4-1 system. Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell tend to occupy the wings.
One to watch: There are bigger names in the squad, but Espanyol centre-back Oscar Duarte is the rock holding their backline together. He’s also good for a goal on set-pieces.
Things to consider: There have been few emerging stars for Costa Rica since 2014. Only two squad members are under 25-years-old, while more than half of them featured in Brazil four years ago.
Their starting XI will likely be a slower and less clinical version of the 2014 side.
Manager: The second-youngest boss at this summer’s tournament, 44-year-old Mladen Krstajic is a rookie in every sense. A star defender for Partizan Belgrade and Werder Bremen, this is his first management role.
Best WC result: This is just the second appearance for Serbia in their current guise. The previous one saw them finish bottom of the group in 2010. As Yugoslavia, they reached the semi-finals in 1962, beating West Germany along the way.
How they play: Serbia tend to switch between a 3-4-3 and 4-3-2-1 system. The one constant seems to be Newcastle United’s Aleksandar Mitrovic as centre-forward.
One to watch: Mitrovic and Nemanja Matic are already well known by fans on these shores. Lazio prodigy Sergej Milinkovic-Savic could prove a key presence in midfield.
Things to consider: Serbia were excellent coming forward in qualifying, scoring 20 goals. With Mitrovic well-serviced by Adem Ljajic and Dusan Tadic, they’re always a threat up front.
The issue is at the back. Four of their defenders are at least 32-years-old, and could well be exploited by pacy forwards.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing