|Despite claims of Brazil’s fantastic attacking flair being alive and well, it hasn’t looked that way at the World Cup. Brazil may have scored three goals in two matches at the tournament, but the team has struggled in both games to create chances.
Now, Brazil take on Serbia who are fighting for their World Cup lives. The Serbians allowed two second half goals against Switzerland after taking an early lead. Now, the team’s back is up against the wall. Win and go through, lose and go home.
Brazil’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica in match two flattered the South Americans. It took 91 minutes for Brazil to finally get a goal as Philippe Coutinho struck for the second straight game. Neymar added another seven minutes into stoppage-time. Brazil have struggled to get through defences and the team could just as easily be without points if it hadn’t been for Coutinho. The Barcelona player has outplayed teammate Neymar, who gets all the team’s headlines. Neymar has spent more time complaining to referees about defenders being physical than creating chances. The attacker has had far less time on the ball to create and score than at the club level.
Serbia, on the other hand, came out of the gates firing on all cylinders in games one and two. However, the Serbians failed to keep the pressure up against Switzerland. The good news is a solid performance against Brazil could see them snatch a point. It could be enough to go through to the round of 16. But Serbia needs Costa Rica to beat Switzerland by a favourable scoreline.
Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia all have the chance to go through to the knockout stage. Serbia’s only certainty of making the next round is to win on Wednesday. Serbia shouldn’t be in this position, however. If it wasn’t for poor game management by coach Mladen Krstajic, the team would have got a draw against Switzerland. Instead of holding tight late in the second half, Krstajic made attacking changes and went for the win. It backfired as Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored the winner on 90 minutes after making a 60-yard run.
Both teams’ lineups should look similar going into the final match. Serbia have played a 4-2-3-1 with holding midfielders to protect the centre-backs. Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic will be key in slowing down Brazil’s pacy attackers.
Brazil will deploy a 4-3-3 formation with Neymar and Willian on either side. Tite could change his No. 9 as Gabriel Jesus has been mostly ineffective. He may choose Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino to lead the line.
Serbia vs Brazil Preview and Predictions
Over 1.5 goals