Brazil will once again start as the favourite when they take on Costa Rica in the second match of the group, a game that will go a long way in determining the fate of each nation. Costa Rica are of course no strangers to a big match, having topped their 2014 World Cup group containing Italy, England and Uruguay, all former champions. This time though, one feels their opponents will be far too good.
This will be Costa Rica's biggest test in the group after their match against Serbia, and the Central American nation will be perfectly aware what is at stake. A loss here would mean they are out of the tournament. A win here, and they will be in dreamland.
Brazil obviously won't be an easy team to beat, and in fact they are almost flawless at this stage of the competition. Prior to the 2018 World Cup, Brazil had topped their group in the last nine consecutive tournaments, and a win here would go a long way to securing number ten, with only their match against Serbia to follow.
Leading in this tournament, and indeed their qualification campaign, all the talk surrounded Brazil's humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany on their home turf. That had well and truly been put to bed after they qualified with ease, although their failure to take chances in a 1-1 draw with the Swiss will have some fans worried coming into this one.
Costa Rica also qualified with relative ease, losing just twice in their sixteen matches. Their main focus was on defence during the campaign, and produced good results in that they conceded just 0.7 goals per match and recorded 7 clean sheets. While their sternest test in the CONCACAF region was Mexico, Brazil are in a different class, and their defensive resolve will really be put to the test here.
Brazil start as almost unbackable favourites, priced at -530. Costa Rica are at long odds to pull up another huge World Cup upset, priced at +1400, while the draw is slightly more feasible and available for +567. Given the gulf in quality between the two sides, it would be almost foolish to go against the five-time champions here.
Our prediction for the match is a 3-0 to the Brazilians, who will go on to top the group.