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WORLD CUP 2018 - Group E Preview: Do Neymar & Brazil have what it takes to avenge their 2014 nightmare?

Up until the first ball is kicked in the Luzhniki Stadium Stadium in Moscow, Tribal will be providing you with in-depth analysis of all the 32 teams that will compete for the Jules Rimet Trophy.

Here are the previews for:

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Now let's continue with Group E, which features Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica & Serbia


How did they get here?

The five-time World Cup champions cruised through qualification, winning the CONMEBOL group with a ten point advantage. Brazil will be looking to avenge their embarrassing exit from the 2014 competition when they were destroyed 7-1 in the semi-final at home by Germany.

Who are they?

Even if Neymar hadn't recovered in time from his foot injury, this is a completely different Brazil side than four years ago. This is due in large part to Tite, the man who has lost just once since replacing Dunga as manager in 2016. The Selecao have now combined their immense talent up front with a steely resolve that makes them a formidable and balanced opponent. Tite's 4-3-3/4-5-1 system will see Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus join Neymar in attack. The midfield spots will be shared among Casemiro, Fernandinho, Willian, Paulinho and Fred. Thiago Silva or Miranda will start alongside Marquinhos at centre-back, while Alisson will get the nod over Ederson in goals. Dani Alves' absence will be a huge loss, but one that can will covered admirably by Danilo or Fagner.

The young player to watch…

Gabriel Jesus. The youngest player in the Brazil squad is hardly an unknown quantity. But the 20-year-old Manchester City striker might just take the tournament by storm.

How will they advance?

Brazil would have no trouble passing through any group let alone a rather weak Group E.

Group stage fixtures: Switzerland (June 17 - Rostov-on-Don), Costa Rica (June 22 - St. Petersburg), Serbia (June 27 - Moscow)


Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cassio (Corinthians)

Defenders: Miranda (Inter Milan), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Geromel (Gremio), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Fagner (Corinthians), Danilo (Manchester City), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Forwards: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Firmino (Liverpool), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk), Douglas Costa (Juventus)


How did they get here?

The Schweizer Nati qualified for their fourth straight World Cup after a play-off win over Northern Ireland. It wasn't all bad for Vladimir Petkovic's side as they lost only one of their group qualification matches.

Who are they?

Switzerland possess enough talent to see them finish second behind Brazil in Group E. Arsenal's Granit Xhaka and Stoke City attacker Xherdan Shaqiri will lead the way, with the latter relied upon heavily for creativity going forward. Xhaka will play as a holding midfielder in Petkovic's 4-2-3-1 system alongside talented youngster Denis Zakaria. 21-year-old Breel Embolo will likely play as the lone striker. Either Yann Sommer and Roman Burki - both of whom start for Bundesliga clubs - will be in goals. The defence will be lead by 34-year-old Stephan Lichtsteiner and Johan Djourou.

The young player to watch…

Denis Zakaria. Scouts will be definitely keeping an eye on how the 21-year-old performs in Russia after a stellar season with Borussia Monchengladbach.

How will they advance?

If Switzerland can beat Serbia in their second group game, they should have done enough to see themselves into the knockout rounds.

Group stage fixtures: Brazil (June 17 - Rostov-on-Don), Serbia (June 22 - Kaliningrad), Costa Rica (June 27 - Nizhny Novgorod)


Goalkeepers: Roman Buerki (Borussia Dortmund), Yvon Mvogo (Leipzig), Yann Sommer (Borussia Moenchengladbach)

Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basel), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Jacques-Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (AC Milan), Fabian Schaer (Deportivo La Coruna)

Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Udinese), Blerim Dzemaili (Bologna), Gelson Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Steven Zuber (Hoffenheim)

Forwards: Josip Drmic (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Breel Embolo (Schalke), Mario Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Haris Seferovic (Benfica)

Costa Rica

How did they get here?

Costa Rica performed well in CONCACAF qualifying, finishing second in their group behind Mexico. Los Ticos will be hoping they can repeat their 2014 Cinderella run, when they finished on top of Uruguay, Italy & England before being knocked out in quarter-finals by the Netherlands.

Who are they?

Nothing much has changed in four years for Costa Rica. Oscar Ramirez is their new manager but the same defensive tactics will be employed. That means a 5-4-1 system, with former Everton man Bryan Oviedo looking to get up and down as a left-wing back. The presence of Keylor Navas in goals exponentially increases Costa Rica's chances of advancing to the knockout stages. Leadership duties will be shared by Navas and Sporting Lisbon attacker Bryan Ruiz. Arsenal winger Joel Campbell will be tasked with producing excitement going forward for a side hindered by their lack of flair.

The young player to watch…

Joel Campbell. Such is the experience in this Costa Rica squad that the 25-year-old will likely be the youngest to feature. With his Arsenal future uncertain, look for a big showing from the pacy attacker.

How will they advance?

The way Costa Rica are set up means they will cause every team trouble in the group stage. However, their lack of overall quality should see them leave Russia at the first hurdle.

Group stage fixtures: Serbia (June 17 - Samara), Brazil (June 22 - St. Petersburg), Switzerland (June 27 - Nizhny Novgorod)


Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Patrick Pemberton (LDA), Leonel Moreira (Herediano)

Defenders: Cristian Gamboa (Celtic), Ian Smith (Norrkoping), Ronald Matarrita (NYCFC), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland), Oscar Duarte (Espanyol), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Bologna), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Johnny Acosta (Aguilas Dorados)

Midfielders: David Guzman (Portland Timbers), Yeltsin Tejeda (Lausanne), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna), Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Rodney Wallace (NYCFC), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Lisbon), Daniel Colindres (Saprissa), Christian Bolanos (Saprissa)

Forwards: Johan Venegas (Saprissa), Joel Campbell (Real Betis), Marco Urena (LAFC)


How did they get here?

The Balkan nation beat out strong competition - Ireland, Wales and Austria - to top their European qualification group. It is the first time they've qualified for a major tournament since the 2010 World Cup when they were knocked out at the group stage.

Who are they?

This might just be perfect timing for the Orlovi. Manager Mladen Krstajic has the perfect blend of hardened veterans and talented youngsters to take with him to Russia. Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic form a formidable pair in Krstajic's 4-2-3-1 system. Branislav Ivanovic leads the backline, with Aleksandr Kolarov providing an experienced presence at left-back. Aleksandr Mitrovic was on fire for Fulham during the second half of this season and will likely lead the line for his country. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a superstar in the making, and along with Andrija Živković, will provide youthful legs going forward.

The young player to watch…

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Currently being tracked by Manchester United and Juventus, the 23-year-old is reportedly worth €100m.

How will they advance?

If they can break down Costa Rica and repel a talented Switzerland, Serbia have every chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Group stage fixtures: Costa Rica (June 17 - Samara), Switzerland (June 22 - Kaliningrad), Brazil (June 27 - Moscow)


Goalkeepers: Vladimir Stojkovic (Partizan Belgrade), Predrag Rajkovic (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Marko Dmitrovic (Eibar)

Defenders: Aleksandar Kolarov (AS Roma), Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St. Petersburg), Dusko Tosic (Guangzhou R&F), Antonio Rukavina (Villarreal), Milos Veljkovic (Werder Bremen), Milan Rodic (Red Star Belgrade), Uros Spajic (Krasnodar), Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina)

Midfielders: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United), Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Marko Grujic (Liverpool), Adem Ljajic (Torino), Dusan Tadic (Southampton), Filip Kostic (Hamburg SV), Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica), Nemanja Radonjic (Red Star Belgrade)

Forwards: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United), Aleksandar Prijovic (PAOK), Luka Jovic (Benfica)
Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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