The FIFA World Cup starts this week in Russia. Thirty-two teams will battle for the World Cup trophy and the winner could come from Group E or Group F. The two groups will kickoff their World Cup campaigns on June 17 and 18.
FIFA World Cup June 17
Group E: Costa Rica vs. Serbia
Costa Rice surprised everyone at the World Cup four years ago. The team made it all the way to the quarterfinals before being eliminated. This year’s team is just as talented and despite being underdogs in Group F, Costa Rica has the players to qualify for the knockout round. Serbia has a host of well-know players and rising stars, but the age of the team’s defense should be a worry. Although the strikers corps of Luka Jovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic is good, the duo is inexperienced at the World Cup level. Serbia has lots of promise and its midfield will be the difference in the fixture. The team will be the wildcard in Group E.
Group E: Brazil vs. Switzerland
Most will expect Brazil and Switzerland to qualify from Group E for the knockout round. The Brazilians have been tipped by leading sportsbooks to win the tournament and the national team has plenty of talented superstars making up its squad. Switzerland is always a solid performer at the World Cup. However, the Swiss are never going to wow audiences with the type of soccer that Brazil play. The Swiss will need to be compact and limit mistakes in this fixture. As long as Brazil’s Neymar is fit, the Selecao should have no problem with beating Switzerland in a close game.
Group F: Germany vs. Mexico
Reigning World Cup winners Germany kickoff its World Cup campaign on June 17 against Mexico. Germany has not looked good in preparation matches for the World Cup and manager Joachim Low should be worried. In the team’s final prep match against Saudi Arabia, several Germany players were booed by fans. It was something the team wouldn’t have thought possible as reigning champions. Mexico is always a difficult team to beat. The side has plenty of talent with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Carlos Vela leading the line. Rising star Hirving Lozano could be the team’s break out player and is definitely one to watch. Germany should get things together when the tournament starts and just get past the Mexicans. It is important to note that the last two tournaments have seen the reigning champions eliminated at the group stage.
FIFA World Cup June 18
Group F: Sweden vs. South Korea
Sweden and South Korea will start their World Cup a day after Germany and Mexico. Group F will be the most difficult group to predict and two talented teams will be sent home. The Swedes are now in the post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic-era and the team doesn’t have a player to center its attack around. South Korea should be more balanced. The Asia side is well-organized even if it does lack some of the physical presence of the Swedes. The South Koreans should pick up a win and get themselves ready possible knockout round qualification.
Winner: South Korea
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