World Cup joint-favourites Brazil will be expected to qualify as winners of Group E. The five-time champions qualified as winners of the South American section
The Selecao will face Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica – the latter having reached the quarter-finals as the surprise package of the last World Cup, in Brazil, in 2014.
Read on for the fixtures, group odds and forecasts in Group E….
Cosmos Arena, Samara
Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg
Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
Otkritie Arena, Moscow
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod
Unsurprisingly Brazil are big favourites top Group E – and indeed will need to if they are to avoid a likely second-round clash with Germany.
Given their form in qualifying, Brazil are a fair price at 2/7 to win Group E. Switzerland also impressed in qualifying, but are 6/1 to top the group – a reflection of both Brazil’s superiority and Switzerland falling short in their qualifying group too.
Serbia are 8/1 to win Group E, while Costa Rica – despite their form at the last World Cup – are 18/1 to win the group.
You will find little value in backing Brazil to qualify from Group E – they are as low as 1/16, which is no surprise given they are expected to reach the final.
The second qualifying spot is where it gets interesting, with Switzerland at evens, Serbia at 6/5 and Costa Rica – quarter-finalists in Brazil four years ago – available to back at 7/2.
Switzerland have made it out of the group stages in two of the last three tournaments, and the one they did not manage to get through was 2010, when they had beaten eventual champions Spain in the opening game.
Their World Cup pedigree is stronger than Serbia’s, and evens is a generous price for them to go through.
Costa Rica were the surprise team last time out, and qualified relatively comfortably this year, but Los Ticos have a tough group – as they did four years ago, in fairness – and will need to do very well to repeat those heroics.
Backing Brazil to win the group returns little value, therefore, and you can still get relatively high odds on the second team to qualify from Group E. Those odds do improve slightly if you combine the two into a group forecast bet, however.
Bet365 are offering 7/4 on 1st – Brazil, 2nd – Switzerland, while the equivalent bet with Serbia second is 9/4. Switzerland’s impressive qualifying campaign, where they won their first nine matches, should stand them in good stead and they have a recent history of some good World Cup results.
With Switzerland and Serbia expected to battle it out for the second qualifying spit in Group E, Costa Rica are odds-on favourites to finish bottom of the group.
That may seem unfair given their run to the quarter-finals four years ago, but they are nevertheless outsiders for all three matches. Lightning is not likely to strike twice, and a price of 4/6 from Bet365 on Costa Rica finishing bottom of Group E seems fair.
It would be a huge surprise if Brazil did not top Group E, so any bet on the second team to qualify is effectively a prediction they will finish second. As a result, backing a forecast with Brazil first and your chosen other second will return a greater profit if it comes to pass. Switzerland have the calibre to go through behind Brazil, and a 1st – Brazil, 2nd – Switzerland group forecast is 7/4 with Bet365.
Brazil (7/4 to finish 1st with Switzerland 2nd with Bet365)
Switzerland (evens to qualify with Bet365)
Serbia (4/6 to fail to qualify with Bet365)
Costa Rica (4/6 to finish bottom with Bet365)
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begambleaware | 18+ T&C* aaply
begambleaware | 18+ T&C* aaply