Serbia Have the Potential To Give Brazil Fits In Must-Win Match

Jun 27, 2018 3:58 AM EDT

Brazil vs. Serbia, 2 p.m. ET, Fox

  • Brazil -183
  • Serbia +533
  • Draw +329

Bet to Watch:

Over 2.5 goals (-114)

Serbia were last seen blowing a one-goal lead to Switzerland in a politically charged match. It was a tough blow to the Orlovi’s chances to advance as it condemned them to a virtual must-win match against tournament favorites Brazil.

Brazil, too, aren’t a sure thing for the knockout rounds as they will likely be knocked out if they lose this match.

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On the surface, it may have looked like Brazil were lucky to get by Costa Rica on Friday, as they notched two late goals to save their blushes against the Central Americans. While it took a while for The Yellow Canary to break through, it was a dominant performance as evidenced by their 2.4-0.1 expected goals edge. Everything looks fine under the hood for Brazil, but that still doesn’t make this a walkover.

Serbia have a lot of quality in their side and are dangerous in a few areas. Aleksandar Kolarov is a set-piece maestro and has a few nifty crosses in him. Aleksandar Mitrovic is tough to deal with in the box, and with Kolarov’s prowess delivering the ball, he is always a good shout to find the back of the net. Behind Mitrovic will be Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who is creating quite a lot of buzz in the tournament and is another dangerous man going forward. And of course, Nemanja Matic will be there to pull the strings for the Serbian attack. We’ve yet to see the best from this side, and time is running out on them to make some noise.

While there’s a lot of good pieces in the Serbian side, Brazil is still far and away the better team in this encounter. There are goals all over the field for La Selecao and players such as Neymar and Willian will thrive if this game does open up. The Brazilians have dealt with two well-organized teams looking to dig in and muddy things up. Serbia could adopt a similar approach, but they will need to hunt for a goal in this match and that should leave them exposed.

Brazil should enjoy a more open game, and Serbia won’t shy away from bombing forward — they have no choice. I think we could see an entertaining, back-and-forth match and believe Serbia could put a scare into the South Americans before bowing out of the competition.

Follow Michael J. Leboff on Twitter
@TheBigLeebowski

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