Why wait for the 2018 World Cup when you can find out what happened right now with CricketSoccer’s great Russia prediction? – today the big beasts of Brazil and Germany
As the country with the most World Cup titles (5), Brazil starts every Mundial as the favourite. Whenever they don’t win the big one, the people of Brazil cry tears of sadness as only one thing counts to them. Add the humiliating 7-1 semi-final on home soil four years ago to the already ever-present pressure and you can imagine how much this World Cup means for the Seleção.
In search of redemption, Brazil faced favourable opponents in Serbia, Costa Rica, and Switzerland. The latter was the opening day foe and the game gave an early signal of how Brazil’s group stage would go. An easy 4-1 win was achieved by the Brazilians who were guided by Roberto Firmino in the absence of Neymar. The PSG superstar suffered a minor injury just before kick-off and made the whole of Brazil go into panic-mode but Neymar was deemed fit to play the following game.
The surprise package of 2014, Costa Rica, made a debut with a 1-0 win over Serbia in a game headlined by a huge bust-up which ended up with two red cards for each side. In the second round, Brazil continued toying with their opponents as they beat Costa Rica 3-0 with one goal from the returning Neymar. Meanwhile, Switzerland beat Serbia, making the final group game between Switzerland and Costa Rica a tasty one.
That game really lived up to the build-up as a five-goal thriller was eventually decided by a 93rd-minute goal for Costa Rica, who would join Brazil in the knockout phase. Brazil ended the group stage with another authoritative victory which this time came at the expense of last-placed Serbia.
2. Costa Rica
Could Germany become the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in the early sixties? It was a question left unanswered after the group stage but if their performances in the first three games are anything to go by, you just can’t bet against another world title for the Germans. Cold-blooded as ever, Germany started off their campaign with a 1-0 win over Mexico with Thomas Muller (who else?) grabbing the only goal of the game.
In the other Group F clash, Sweden – with no Zlatan Ibrahimovic – booked their first victory as they were too strong for South Korea who made the last-minute shock appointment of 2002 World Cup hero Guus Hiddink as a coach. However, as the nation also lost the second group game to Mexico, a similar scenario to that of sixteen years ago was immediately off the cards.
— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) May 14, 2018
Germany, as they always do, seemed to grow in the tournament as they comfortably beat Sweden with a 3-0 win in the second round. Another victory over South Korea in the final match of the group phase meant that the Germans advanced to the next round as group leaders.
The clash between Sweden and Mexico was of great importance as progression to the last 16 was on the line. The stakes were very high and it seemed to impact the quality of play which was limited to very few occasions of brilliance. One of those came, though, and it proved to be the decisive moment. Javier Hernandez’s peach of a header won Mexico the game and crashed the dream of Sweden.
4. South Korea