Brazil & Friends
The group on paper is pretty simple. Brazil, a team who breezed through qualification and recent friendlies, is facing opposition that should not pose a threat to them. They are coming back to the World Cup to erase the embarrassing memory of the last time they were on this stage and were humiliated by Germany. They are one of the favorites to win this cup not only because they are Brazil and it is the normal expectation for them, but they are bringing a roster full of talent not only on offense but on defense as well. Will their excessive attacking attitude hurt them down the latter stages of the tournament? It might unless they can adjust but definitely will not be a concern in this group as they should be the top team in the group easily. This leaves the battle for the second spot.
Serbia, Switzerland and Costa Rica make up the rest of the group and it is hard to pick a clear cut favorite from the three. Will it be the experience of Costa Rica that helps them in a tournament like this or will individual performances from the Swiss team be enough to take them to the next round? Looking at the rosters across the rest of the group shows strong midfields especially defensively but not a lot of firepower on any of the roster so it will be up to which midfield can turn on the attack force the most.
Second largest factor will be experience in a tournament like this which is where Costa Rica boasts the most experience in terms of caps and more importantly, stability in the roster. Personally, I think this will be the factor that will see them through. I do not expect a lot of high scoring games in this group but definitely a lot of hard fought midfield battles.
Score predictions sure to go wrong:
Costa Rica 2 vs. Serbia 1
Brazil 4 vs. Switzerland 1
Brazil 3 vs. Costa Rica 1
Serbia 1 vs. Switzerland 1
Switzerland 0 vs. Costa Rica 2
Serbia 0 vs. Brazil 3
Liverpool players to watch: Firmino (Brazil), Grujic (Serbia)
With both players possibly coming off the bench, it will be interesting to see the roles they take and the impacts they can make. I do not expect Firmino to come in as savior in any of the games and might possibly start the last game as Brazil will have wrapped up their spot to the next round. I am more interested in watching Grujic perform to see if he can catch the eye of Klopp and the staff to fight for a role in this newly remodeled Liverpool midfield.
Bold Prediction : Brazil will finish every game against a team that has 10 players or less.