How qualified – Won COMNEBOL group
Best performance – Winners x5
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Weverton.
Defenders: Dani Alves, Danilo, Alex Sandro, Alex Telles, Bremer, Eder Militao, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva.
Midfielders: Bruno Guimaraes, Casemiro, Everton Ribeiro, Fabinho, Fred, Lucas Paqueta.
Attackers: Antony, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Neymar, Pedro, Raphinha, Richarlison, Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior.
How qualified – Won UEFA Group A
Best performance – 4th 1962 (as Yugoslavia)
Goalkeepers: Marko Dmitrovic, Predrag Rajkovic, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic
Defenders: Stefan Mitrovic, Nikola Milenkovic, Strahinja Pavlovic, Milos Veljkovic, Filip Mladenovic, Strahinja Erakovic, Srdjan Babic
Midfielders: Nemanja Gudelj, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Sasa Lukic, Marko Grujic, Filip Kostic, Uros Racic, Nemanja Maksimovic, Ivan Ilic, Andrija Zivkovic, Darko Lazovic
Forwards: Dusan Tadic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic, Filip Djuricic, Luka Jovic, Nemanja Radonjic
How qualified – Won UEFA Group C
Best performance – QFs 1954
Goalkeepers: Gregor Kobel, Yann Sommer, Jonas Omlin, Philipp Kohn
Defenders: Manuel Akanji, Eray Comert, Nico Elvedi, Fabian Schar, Silvan Widmer, Ricardo Rodriguez, Edimilson Fernandes
Midfielders: Michel Aebischer, Xherdan Shaqiri, Renato Steffen, Granit Xhaka, Denis Zakaria, Fabian Frei, Remo Freuler, Noah Okafor, Fabian Rieder, Ardon Jashari
Forwards: Breel Embolo, Ruben Vargas, Djibril Sow, Haris Seferovic, Christian Fassnacht
How qualified – Won CAF play-off
Best performance – QFs 1990
Goalkeepers: Andre Onana, Devis Epassy, Simon Ngapandouetnbu
Defenders: Jean-Charles Castelletto, Enzo Ebosse, Collins Fai, Olivier Mbaizo, Nouhou Tolo, Nicolas Nkoulou, Christopher Wooh
Midfielders: Olivier Ntcham, Gael Ondoua, Martin Hongla, Pierre Kunde, Samuel Oum Gouet, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Jerome Ngom
Forwards: Nicolas Ngamaleu, Christian Bassogog, Bryan Mbeumo, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Jean-Pierre Nsame, Vincent Aboubakar, Karl Toko-Ekambi, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Souaibou Marou
Thursday 24 November
Switzerland vs Cameroon – 10am – ITV
Brazil vs Serbia – 7pm – BBC
Monday 28 November
Cameroon vs Serbia – 10am – ITV
Brazil vs Switzerland – 4pm – ITV
Friday 2 December
Serbia vs Switzerland – 7pm – ITV
Cameroon vs Brazil – 7pm – ITV
Group G was always going to have plenty of attention on it because it is the section from which the ‘Samba Boys’ have been placed as Brazil go about trying to win the World Cup for the sixth time. They will have familiar company as well because two of the teams who they will oppose over the week or so of the group format they took on at the same stage in Russia four years ago in the form of Serbia and Switzerland. Both sides topped their qualifying group ahead of good level opposition so they merit their place at the tournament. Cameroon might feel like the new boys at school given that they are the odd ones out in the group but any team who came through the African setup the way it is organised merit respect.
There have been some shocks in this tournament but it would require some seismic ones for Brazil not to come out on top of this group but you’re not going to get very rich backing them to do it. I actually think the value comes in the form of the ‘to qualify’ market. Technically it is the same as to finish second but the ‘to qualify’ one offers up a shock result that sends someone top. I also think it is between the two European sides as Cameroon just lack that extra something.
It might well be that qualifying comes down to the match between Serbia and Switzerland on the final day of the group. Switzerland probably have the advantage of the schedule in that they play Cameroon in their opening game and Serbia have Brazil so there is a chance that the Serbs will be playing catch up but I think they are streetwise enough to know the score and I suspect parts of them will know their tournament life revolves around their last two matches and they’ll be ready for them. I always like the better attacking teams and there is no doubt that is Serbia so I’ll take them to progress from the group.
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Given that I expect Serbia to make it out of the group it stands to reason that I think they can score more than 3.5 goals in their campaign as well. I don’t actually think Serbia just make it out of the group but they could very easily run into a quarter final. It would appear as though they would be on a collision course with Portugal or Uruguay in the round of 16. Uruguay won’t hold any fears and they overcame Portugal in qualifying to make this tournament so they know they have the beating of them too.
Serbia are a team with a lot of attacking options in their ranks. I think that is important for a couple of reasons. Clearly it means they have good options to start the game but it also means they have cover for injuries, they can freshen things up when they are in front in matches and they can bring more attackers on when behind. Five subs can be used now so having good options in reserve is key. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic are top level strikers while Luka Jovic is kind of the forgotten man. They are backed up with some decent attacking midfielders so I think Serbia clear 3.5 goals before they are done with this tournament.
Back Serbia to qualify from Group G for a 2/10 stake at 2.10 with Betfair
Back Serbia – Over 3.5 tournament goals for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Bet365