World Cup

Serbia v Brazil preview

Brazil is on the verge of the World Cup last 16, requiring a win or draw against Serbia on Wednesday to see them through.

Tite’s men left it late to beat Costa Rica on Friday, as Philippe Coutinho and Neymar came to the rescue to send Brazil to the top of Group E.

Coach Tite says Brazil will not be changing their approach which helped them win their previous game while refusing to place too much pressure on the shoulders of captain Neymar.

“What is maintaining your game plan?”

“It’s when you score a goal in the 91st minute by playing with the style the team has been playing since the start of the game.”

“I was very happy with the way we reacted emotionally in the second half,” he said.

“We are not placing an excessive responsibility on Neymar’s shoulders for success or failure,” he said.

“It’s the whole team which wins or loses.”

Serbia can also still qualify for the knockout rounds despite losing late on to Switzerland in their last game and a draw against Brazil could see them through if Switzerland loses to Costa Rica by two or more goals.

Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic said: “We have no fear of Brazil, but we have to be patient, disciplined and play as a team.”

“We have to satisfy the Serbian nation.”

“We have nothing to lose but if we are not ready to give our all, then we will have lost… You may lose, but you must not shirk your responsibility.”

Team News

Brazil is expected to stick with their first choice XI, although Danilo is out with a thigh problem and Douglas Costa has a hamstring injury.

Six of the Serbia squad have been booked and will be suspended if they are booked again and reach the last 16 – Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luka Milivojevic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Aleksandar Prijovic, Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic.

However, Krstajic is expected to name a strong starting XI including some of the players at risk.

Opta Stats

Yugoslavia included, Serbia and Brazil have met four times at the World Cup.

Their head-to-head record is perfectly balanced with one win each and two draws.

Serbia and Brazil’s first ever World Cup appearance was in a match against each other in 1930 – Yugoslavia running out 2-1 winners.

In total though (including as Yugoslavia), Serbia have faced Brazil on 19 occasions – winning just twice (D7 L10).

This will be the second meeting between Serbia and Brazil with the former as an independent nation – their first encounter was in a friendly in June 2014, Brazil winning 1-0.

In all competitions, Brazil is unbeaten in 13 matches (W9 D4 L0), conceding just three goals in that run.

Brazil has only managed one victory in their last seven World Cup games against European opposition (D2 L4) – a 3-1 win against Croatia in 2014.

As an independent nation, Serbia has lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded, winning the two in which they kept clean sheets.

Serbian forward Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 18 goals in 26 games for club and country in 2018.

Philippe Coutinho has scored in each of his last three appearances for Brazil.

Brazil’s Neymar has been directly involved in 18 goals in his last 17 appearances for the national side (10 goals, 8 assists).

 

 

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