The second round of Group E action in the World Cup closes Friday afternoon as Serbia and Switzerland square off, with the Swiss as slight favorites on the soccer odds at Mybookie Sportsbook. Serbia will advance to the knockout rounds with a win over Switzerland, but the Swiss won’t advance if they win.
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Serbia v Switzerland 2018 World Cup Odds & Prediction
— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) 20 de junio de 2018
- When: Friday, 2 PM ET
- Where: Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia
- TV / Stream: Fox / Fox Sports Go
- 2018 World Cup Odds: Switzerland +157 / Serbia +191 / Draw +197 (total 2)
Why Bet on Serbia?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Mladen Krstajić
- Captain: Aleksandar Kolarov
- FIFA Ranking: 34
The Serbs opened the tournament with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica on a second-half free kick by Aleksandar Kolarov. Kolarov’s strike, 11 minutes into the second half, was the first direct free-kick scored by a Serbia/Yugoslavia player at a World Cup tournament since 1998 when Sinisa Mihajlovic netted against Iran.
Serbia controlled large parts of the opening 45 minutes, although the closest they came to actually break the deadlock was an acrobatic overhead kick from Aleksandar Mitrovic a minute before the interval. In a disappointing first half, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic was Serbia’s most compelling player, showcasing a remarkable ability to retrieve seemingly lost situations through telescopic legs and slick footwork. One burst beyond the defense brought a good chance and a save from Keylor Navas, although Milinkovic-Savic was ruled to be offside; later on, he was flagged again when forcing the Real Madrid keeper to repel a smart overhead kick.
Led by Branislav Ivanovic, who now has a record 104 caps for Serbia, three members of the back four have over 200 national appearances between them and an average age of 33. The fourth member, 20-year-old Nikola Milenkovic, made his competitive debut for Serbia against Los Ticos.
After losing five consecutive World Cup games between 1998 and 2010, Serbia has since won two of their last three in the competition (L1). Serbia has won their opening game at a World Cup tournament for the first time since 1998 when they did so as Yugoslavia against Iran (1-0). Serbia has now won all four of their World Cup games against teams from the CONCACAF region, with the first three of those coming as Yugoslavia between 1950 and 1998.
Two draws in its remaining matches could be enough to secure a spot in the round of 16 for Serbia, but with Brazil waiting in its last Group E game, beating the Swiss would take the pressure off Mladen Krstajic’s team.
“If we do the math and start playing for a draw then it will not be successful,” Kolarov said. “Of course, we want to win.”
- 1-V. Stojković
- 3-D. Tošić
- 6-B. Ivanović
- 11-A. Kolarov
- 15-N. Milenković
- 21-N. Matić
- 10-D. Tadić
- 4-L. Milivojević
- 20-S. Milinković-Savić
- 22-A. Ljajić
- 9-A. Mitrović
Why Bet on Switzerland?
- Confederation: UEFA
- Head coach: Vladimir Petković
- Captain: Stephan Lichtsteiner
- FIFA Ranking: 6
Switzerland was more than happy to draw 1-1 with Brazil in the opener. The equalizer came in the 50th minute from one of Swiss’ few chances as Brazil’s Casemiro and Miranda switched off and the unmarked Steven Zuber barely had to leave his feet to nod in Xherdan Shaqiri’s whipped corner. The goal survived a VAR review for an alleged push on Brazil defender Miranda. Switzerland saw plenty of the ball after the goal but lacked quality in the final third.
The Swiss are not seen as contenders for the trophy but the Alpine nation is unbeaten in their last six matches, including draws with two of the heavy favorites — Brazil and Spain.
Switzerland has lost only one of their last 23 matches (W16 D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in October 2017. Switzerland hasn’t lost their opening World Cup match in any of their last five tournaments (W2 D3). Valon Behrami became the first Swiss player to appear in four different World Cup finals – he also appeared in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
Behrami is still receiving treatment after suffering an injury but should be able to play against Serbia. Everybody else is fit. Vladimir Petkovic will probably choose the same lineup like against Brazil: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Fatigue could be an issue for Switzerland as it spends six hours traveling from Samara to Kaliningrad for the matchday clash.
The Swiss have a tie to Serbia. Midfielders Behrami of Italian club Udinese, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Shaqiri of Stoke City were all born in Kosovo and all three played in Switzerland’s surprise 1-1 draw against Brazil. Along with Bologna’s Blerim Dzemaili, born in neighboring Macedonia, Albanian-speaking players made more than a third of the starting line-up against Brazil. There are no official figures, but an estimated 200,000 Kosovo Albanians live in Switzerland, a striking number when compared with Kosovo’s 1.8 million inhabitants.
This will be the first meeting between Serbia (as an independent nation) and Switzerland. They faced the Swiss 13 times as Yugoslavia, winning six (D5 L2).
- 1-Y. Sommer
- 2-S. Lichtsteiner
- 13-R. Rodríguez
- 22-F. Schär
- 5-M. Akanji
- 11-V. Behrami
- 15-B. Džemaili
- 14-S. Zuber
- 23-X. Shaqiri
- 10-G. Xhaka
- 9-H. Seferović
Expert Final Prediction
Switzerland 1 – Serbia 1
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