The clash between Serbia and Switzerland will be played at Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 22nd. The Eagles met expectations with a win over Costa Rica, while Switzerland made a surprise with a well-earned draw against the biggest favorite at the World Cup, and this tilt could easily decide who is going to play in the Round of 16.
Serbia vs. Switzerland
Three-Way: 1: Serbia +179; X: +210 Draw; 2: Switzerland +190 (Odds provided by Delaware Park Sportsbook)
Spread 0: Serbia -118; Switzerland +108
Total 2.5 goals: Over +150; Under -200
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Serbia justified the role of a favorite at -120 against Costa Rica in the first round of the Group E even though they offered almost nothing in the opening 45 minutes, one of the most boring halves at the tournament so far. However, the Eagles started the second half with more decisiveness and created a couple of golden opportunities to Aleksandar Mitrovic, but the striker failed to put one behind Keylor Navas’ back.
Mitrovic played a huge role in the game-winning goal as he forced a free-kick that Aleksandar Kolarov took with such accuracy and power that even bigger goalkeepers than Navas couldn’t stop. It was one of the prettiest goals at the World Cup and the only one in this match, as Serbia secured a deserved victory.
On the other hand, Switzerland was a huge underdog against Brazil who entered the game furiously and after a pair of half-chances, Philippe Coutinho’s strike from outside the box gave the Selecao a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. However, the Brazilians slowed down the tempo and the Swiss started playing better so they managed to tie the score early in the second half as Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner found Steven Zuber in the six-yard box and Zuber slammed the ball behind Alisson’s back to make it 1-1, for the joy of the punters who had both teams to score at +120.
Brazil had even 15 attempts in the second 45 but only three of those went on target and Yann Sommer didn’t have trouble to handle them, while Switzerland didn’t let Neymar influence the game as they constantly fouled him, which turn out to be a great recipe on how to stop the Brazilians. The tilt finished 1-1 and all of those who backed a draw at +340 can be proud of themselves.
Players to watch
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is one of two Serbian players who was selected into the Best XI of the first round, and Lazio’s midfielder produced an excellent display despite not having a hand in the only goal that defeated Costa Rica. He will operate behind Mitrovic as the semi-striker or trequartista, so SMS could out to be a deciding factor against the Swiss.
Switzerland’s best player and the top-scorer of this generation, Xherdan Shaqiri, has the ability to torture opposing defenses and although the Serbian back four was errorless in the last match, they will face a much bigger danger now when they did with the Ticos.
Serbia: Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Milivojevic, Matic; LJajic, Tadic, Savic; Mitrovic.
Switzerland: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Akanji, Schar, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic.
Serbia’s chances to lift the trophy in Russia are +12500, while the Eagles are +350 to make it to the quarter-finals. Switzerland’s chances to win the World Cup are up to +10000, while the Swiss are +350 to reach the quarter-finals.
Serbia to win at +179 are surely attractive odds and they can book their place in the Round of 16 with a win, but the Swiss proved the doubters they can avoid a defeat against the best teams on the planet, and I believe they will do it here again, so I am backing a draw.
The Pick: Draw (+210)