World Cup 2018, Group E, Profile: Brazil Strong Favourites, Big Battle For 2nd Place
Brazil would be hoping that their qualification nightmares are a thing of the past.
Brazil are five-time World Cup winners
Brazil will start as the overwhelming favourites in Group E
Brazil, Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland are the teams in Group E
Five-time World Cup winners Brazil will start as the overwhelming favourites in Group E but the real conundrum is which of the other three teams can finish second. Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica make up Group E in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. The fight for second in all probability will come down to a straight shootout between the Swiss and the Serbs while Costa Rica will look to upset the odds and be a thorn in the flesh of the favourites. The first match of the Group will see Serbia take on Costa Rica on June 17 with Brazil and Switzerland facing each other in the day's later game.
Group E teams: Brazil, Costa Rica, Serbia, Switzerland
Despite being the first team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Brazil's qualification didn't come easy. Under former manager Dunga, Brazil were a shambles. They were static, fearful and struggled to unlock teams despite boasting of some of the best attacking talents in the world.
Under Dunga, Brazil started their qualification round with a 0-2 defeat to Chile. Following that Brazil won two matches and drew two. Dunga was sacked after Brazil's disastrous 2016 Copa America campaign where the country was dumped out in the group stage.
However, the appointment of Tite as new Brazil coach seemed to reinvigorate the team. Brazil went on an eight-game winning streak with the team adopting a more attacking style of play.
The likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Willian flourished under Tite's management and the former Corinthians coach once again was able to take Brazil out of their rut and back to the top.
An injury to Neymar, however, has brought gloom to the Brazilian camp. The Selecao fans will be praying that the PSG star is fully fit going into the tournament.
Costa Rica were far from spectacular in the qualification stage but did enough to seal a place in what is their fourth World Cup finals in five attempts.
Keylor Navas, Real Madrid's first-choice goalkeeper, is his country's most high-profile player and the team will be hoping for a repeat of their 2014 performance when only a penalty shootout loss to Greece denied them a place in the semi-finals.
This is the second time that Serbia have competed in the FIFA World Cup independently after last appearing in 2010 when they beat Germany in the group stage. They missed out in 2014 edition in Brazil.
Serbia were inconsistent during the qualification stage and it was a 1-0 win over Georgia in their last game that final secured their qualification for Russia.
Switzerland are yet fulfil their potential in the quadrennial event despite some brilliant performances in the past.
The Swiss had defeated eventual champions Spain in the 2010 edition and even managed to take Lionel Messi's Argentina to extra time in the pre-quarterfinal clash in 2014.