Well, after the superb result Croatia secured against a sorry Argentinian side on day 8, we gear up for another day of World Cup mayhem and go again for day 9. These games include two from group E and the second fixture from group D.
Match 1: Brazil Vs. Costa Rica- 13:00 K.O.
After a fairly underwhelming start against the Swiss during the first round of fixtures, Tite’s Brazil will be hoping for a crucial 3 points from this one. After starting the tournament as favourites, they really need to step up their game in this one and show us what they’re made of.
The Brazilians won’t worry too much, having won their group at every World Cup tournament since 1982 and they haven’t failed to get out of the group since 1966. Can we take it as a sign if they don’t make it through?
Costa Rica will not give up hope, especially since they finished top of a group that included England, Italy and Uruguay at the last world cup. Granted England and Italy had a shocker, but it’s still a solid accomplishment. Do not underestimate the Costa Ricans, anything is possible in a World Cup.
Coverage of the match will be on ITV with build up starting at 12:30.
- Brazil conceded from the first shot on target they faced at the 2018 World Cup – from their last 13 shots on target faced at the World Cup, they have conceded 10 goals.
- Costa Rica lost their first match against Serbia, ending a five-game unbeaten run at the World Cup finals – they haven’t lost back-to-back World Cup games since June 2006, when they lost four in a row.
- This is the third meeting between Brazil and Costa Rica at the World Cup, with the former inflicting Costa Rica’s first-ever defeat on them at the tournament in 1990 (1-0), before a 5-2 victory in 2002.
- Brazil are winless in three World Cup matches (D1 L2), their worst run since June 1978, when they went four matches without a win.
Match 2: Nigeria Vs. Iceland- 16:00 K.O.
After securing a strong point against Messi’s Argentina, Iceland will look to kick on and hopefully nick all 3 points in this group D draw. Their superb organisation and defensive rigidity will stand them in good stead against the Super Eagles who look frail at the back.
Many have said the Nigerians defensive frailties are down to the lack of experience (they have the youngest side in the tournament), but the problems go back to a time even before some of their squad were born! I bet that makes you feel old! Since making their World Cup debut in 1994, 14 of the 27 goals they have conceded have resulted from dead ball situations. That frail backline and Iceland’s threatening longball play could cause some serious cracks to form in the Nigerian defence. Lose this and they’re out.
Coverage will kick off from 15:30 on BBC 1.
- In their only previous meeting, Iceland triumphed 3-0 in a 1981 friendly.
- Nigeria have failed to score in six of their last 11 World Cup matches.
- They have failed to progress from the group stage on both previous occasions they have lost their opening game.
- After recording eight shots in the first half against Argentina, Iceland failed to register an attempt on goal in the rest of the match.
Match 3: Serbia Vs. Switzerland- 19:00 K.O.
In the second game of group E, the table-topping Serbs size-up against a stubborn Swiss side. With a very physical approach to football, the Swiss side could cause some problems for Serbs in the final game of the day, and they could see more yellows if they’re not careful.
The Serbian side have been studying hard, however, and according to manager Mladen Krstajic, they know everything about their upcoming opponents. if they can secure a second win here, they will see themselves through to the knock-out stages for the first time in their history as an independent nation.
Live coverage of this game will also be shown on BBC 1
- Serbia (as Yugoslavia) have qualified for the knockout stage on three of the last four occasions when they’ve won their opening World Cup fixture.
- Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 14 goals in his last 17 starts for Serbia.
- Switzerland are on a seven-game unbeaten run (W4, D3).
- They have only lost one of their last 23 games (W16, D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal last October.
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