FIFA World Cup 2018: Matchday Preview

The second round of games for teams from Group D and Group E will take place tonight as some teams
from both groups look to seal qualification for the round of 16, while others aim to remain alive in the
tournament, carrying other teams hopes along with them as well.

Group D: Nigeria vs Iceland
It is a crucial encounter in the Volgograd Arena for not just the two teams on show, but also Argentina
after their defeat to Croatia last night. Iceland would need just a point from their last game to qualify if
they can manage a win tonight, while Nigeria need to win to stay alive. An Iceland win would not only
put the miniscule nation inches away from advancing to the knock-out stage, but would also get
Argentina closer to getting knocked out. It seems a Nigerian win is what most would predict when
looking at the teams on paper, but Iceland have become a determined force and the African nation have
won just one of their last 13 World Cup games.
Watch out for Gylfi Sigurdsson – the Everton midfielder has a sweet right-foot and his deliveries from
corners and free-kicks will be crucial if Iceland are to gain the upper hand.

Group E: Brazil vs Costa Rica
After a disappointing draw against Switzerland, Brazil will look to get back to winning ways in the
Krestovsky Stadium in Saint-Petersburg, and step closer to qualification, while a defeat for Costa Rica
will mean the end of their tournament. Although PSG star Neymar is a doubt after missing the last two
training sessions, Brazil remain the odds-on favorites to win against a lackluster Costa Rican side, who
last beat them in a friendly in 1960.
Watch out for Philippe Coutinho – with a cracker of a goal in his last game, all eyes will be on the
Barcelona man again to provide the creativity and drive for the Brazilian attack.

Group E: Serbia vs Switzerland
The newly built Kaliningrad Stadium will be host to the first time Serbia (as an independent nation) face
Switzerland, having previously played them as Yugoslavia. Serbia will be looking to seal qualification
after their close win against Costa Rica in the last match, while the Swiss will be fresh off their brave
performance against the mighty Brazilians. This has the potential of being a really interesting game, with
both sides featuring top players who have experience in the best leagues across the globe. While Serbia
can probably boast of having a better team on paper, they will find it difficult to beat a Switzerland team
who have lost just 1 of their last 23 international games.

Watch out for Xherdan Shaqiri – the little Swiss dynamite is due a big performance after being relatively
quiet against Brazil. He will give the ageing Serbian LB, Alexander Kolarov, a tough time with his pace
and trickery.


Saaj Aryamane

SportsNasha Team

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