The final group match for these nations will be crucial for very different reasons. As group favourites, Brazil should be looking to lock down top spot in the group, for an astonishing tenth consecutive time. This will enable them to progress to the second round as the number one seed and avoid their 2014 nemesis Germany in the Round of 16.
Serbia on the other hand will likely need a win to have any chance of progressing to the next phase of the competition for the first time, and much will depend on their results against Switzerland and Costa Rica. If they have picked up enough points in their other matches, a draw may suffice here, although it’s much more likely that Serbia too will need a win, particularly as the result of the Switzerland-Costa Rica match will be unknown.
Serbia are an interesting prospect. They boast some of the biggest names in world soccer including captain Aleksandar Kolarov, who helped AS Roma progress to the Champions League semi-finals, and Nemnja Matic, one of Manchester United’s best. They also finished atop a tough qualification group that featured the Republic of Ireland, Wales and Austria.
Yet Brazil are on another level, and it’s unsurprising to see them start as the clear favourite to win this match. The South Americans’ pedigree is second to none at the World Cup, and we don’t think they have a chance of losing even if they come into this match without the need for victory. Much like France, Germany and Spain, Brazil boast incredible depth and should be able to manage a win regardless of who takes the field.
It is certainly important to await potential team changes before placing money on this match. Brazil’s likelihood of winning won’t change too much, yet you will find that the odds available will be much more enticing if some of the biggest names are out. The Brazilians start this game at -279, so there is little point placing your bet now.
Serbia start at huge outsiders to win this match, paying +800, while the draw can be obtained at +381. We’re predicting a decent win to the Brazilians, who should be going for a clean sweep of Group E. Our pick is a 3-1 victory, with Serbia always a threat to score from set pieces against the run of play.
When: Wednesday, Jun 27 (2pm ET)
Where: Spartak Stadium, Moscow
TV: FOX, Telemundo*