By: Jason Green
Date: Friday June 22nd
Time: 7:00 PM
Match Odds: Serbia+160 / Switzerland +195 / Draw +205
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
The Swiss are the slight underdogs in this match even though they rare FIFA’s 6th ranked team in the world and they held Brazil to a 1-1 draw in their opening match. Take on Serbia, who is the only squad in Group E with three points after beating Costa Rica 1-1 in their opening match.
This match may be a little tense and see a few red cards. There are Four players on the Switzerland team that have origins from Kosovo, which used to be part of Serbia and does not recognize them. The players said a little extra-effort may be seen in this match.
The Swiss do not have a great attack, but boast a solid midfield and great defense that showed in the draw with Brazil. They were not dominated in the time of possession (55% to 45%) and that has to be of a concern for the Serbs, who controlled the ball less facing Costa Rica, who are the weakest team in Group E. AS Roma’s Aleksandar Kolarov scored the goal in the win over Costa Rica on a set piece. However, can they break through facing a Swiss defense that thwarted Neymar and company in their opening draw? Big question.
While Switzerland does not have a great attack, they have a couple of big-name players in the midfield with Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka. This duo will be key in this match facing the attacking Serbian squad dropping back on defense, like in the Brazil match, and initiating the attack. Steven Zuber netted the lone goal in the win over Brazil and the Swiss will be facing a good Serbian defense led by the England Premier League duo of LUka Milivojevic and Nemanja Matic.
The Serbs use a 4-2-3-1 formation with Aleksandar Mitrovic as the lone up-front striker and the midfield has to get him the ball. However, that is easier said than done, as the strength of the Swiss squad is in the midfield and if Serbia lost the time of possession battle against Costa Rica how will they fare in this match?
Fabian LUkas SChar and Manuel Obafemi Akanji are the anchors of the Swiss defense that played well in their World Cup opener. It will be interesting to see if the Swiss play the style they did in the Brazil match, as while they did draw against them they only have one point in group play, Serbia has three, and while Costa Rica is their last match the Ticos have a legit defensive backfield.
6/4/18 Serbia 0 Chile 1 (Friendly)
6/9/18 Serbia 5 Bolivia 1 (Friendly)
6/17/18 Costa Rica 0 Serbia 1 (World Cup)
6/3/18 Spain 1 Switzerland 1 (Friendly)
6/8/18 Switzerland 2 Japan 0 (Friendly)
6/17/18 Brazil 1 Switzerland 1 (World Cup)
Prediction: This match is an even on paper, but the Swiss have the better midfield and that will be the difference maker. While there will be scoring chances on both sides this match will be a low scoring affair with Switzerland beating Serbia 1-0.