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Swiss to Roll Ticos and Make the Round of 16

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May 10, 2018
Switzerland favourites to beat Costa Rica

Brazil has won its pool at each of the last nine FIFA World Cups, it topped the CONMEBOL qualifying section ahead of the 2018 tournament in Russia and it would be a surprise if it did not take out FIFA World Cup Group E in which it will clash with Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland.

The FIFA World Cup draw placed Brazil and Germany in pools out of which teams will meet in the round of 16 so, with the Germans completing their round-robin schedule following the Brazilians, you can bet on the Group E winner market safe in the knowledge that the five-time world champions will be going all out to finish their section in first place.

Brazil has bounced back exceedingly well from its 2014 FIFA World Cup humiliation in which it lost 1-7 to Germany in the semi-finals, winning the CONMEBOL qualifying pool for this year’s big event by a 10-point margin courtesy of a 12-5-1 record. The performances of Brazil in matches over the last two years have earned it the top spot in the World Football Elo Ratings and the second position in the FIFA World Ranking.

Is it possible to make a case for betting against Brazil in FIFA World Cup Group E? Not really. Switzerland did beat Brazil 1-0 in a Basel friendly so the Swiss will take a degree of confidence into their FIFA World Cup Group E encounter versus the Brazilians but that result is nearly five years old, Dani Alves put the ball into his own side’s net and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since 2013.

Second Best for the Swiss?

Most punting activity on FIFA World Cup Group E will revolve around the qualifying prospects of Costa Rica, Serbia, and Switzerland because it is impossible to bet against Brazil reaching the knockout stage. One is willing to write off Costa Rica’s chance of making the round of 16 four years after the Ticos got to the quarter-finals. According to the FIFA World Ranking, Costa Rica is the third best FIFA World Cup Group E team but the World Football Elo Ratings place the Ticos at the bottom of the four-side pile and rightly so. Costa Rica has not won any of its last five games and, in November, the Ticos were on the end of a 0-5 hammering in a friendly against Spain. That the CONCACAF region has 3.5 FIFA World Cup berths needs reviewing because the teams in North America and Central America are simply not very good.

Most bookmakers are really struggling to split Serbia and Switzerland in FIFA World Cup Group E betting markets but, according to the FIFA World Ranking and, more importantly, the World Football Elo Ratings, there is a clear winner: the Swiss. While both Serbia and Switzerland are heading in the right direction currently, it is the latter that should be the favourite to accompany Brazil into the FIFA World Cup round of 16. According to the FIFA World Ranking and the World Football Elo Ratings, Switzerland is eighth and 13th respectively whereas Serbia is 34th and 23rd. One thinks that the World Football Elo Rating gap of 10 places is accurate and, with Serbia reliant on the unreliable Aleksandar Mitrovic for goals, Switzerland is the call.

Switzerland is a shade of odds-on to make it through FIFA World Cup Group E but, personally, one would prefer to take a similar price about the Swiss getting the better of Costa Rica in the third batch of pool matches. One thinks that it will be a game that Switzerland will need to win to qualify for the round of 16 and that Costa Rica will go into it with its FIFA World Cup Group E campaign as good as over. One can see Switzerland being much shorter odds to defeat Costa Rica by the time that the Wednesday 27 June game rolls around.

About the author

Alan Penny
Alan Penny


Alan hails from Northern Ireland and is an avid fan of all sports. He has been with us since 2017 and serves as SBO’s Editor-in-Chief. Alan passionately covers everything from the latest regulatory developments across the globe to tips on the latest football matches.