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#WorldCup Day 4: What to look out for

Sunday’s action sees three fixtures with, 2014 champions, Germany also in action however, the fixture of the day will be based on expectation that has been placed on the shoulders of Brazil.

Picture: @WorldCup2018now/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – Following an enthralling match on Friday evening between Spain and Portugal, Brazil will be hoping to sparkle in their opening World Cup match when they take on Switzerland on Sunday.

Sunday’s action sees three fixtures with, 2014 champions, Germany also in action however, the fixture of the day will be based on expectation that has been placed on the shoulders of Brazil.

Brazil v Switzerland

Brazil’s Key Players:

Neymar (Winger)

Captaining the national team at 26-years old, many are expecting the former Barcelona winger to take Brazil to the finals. Given the squad that, coach, Tite has at his disposal, Neymar and his men will be expected to make it to – at least - the quarter-finals. With 350 club appearances to his name, and 28 goals in this campaign, Neymar will be hoping for a matured performance at this year’s football showpiece. He’ll be hoping to add to his 55 goals in international colours.

Phillipe Coutinho (Midfielder)

‘The Magician’ as he was fondly known at Liverpool, Phillipe Coutinho’s creativity from the centre of midfield to Neymar - and perhaps, Roberto Firmino – Brazil have more than enough attacking ammunition. With just over 200 experiences for Liverpool, Brazil will have more than enough experience going forward. With two keepers in Ederson and Alisson marshalled by Thiago Silva, Marcelo and Filipe Luis, the Brazilians will be hard to breakdown as well.

Switzerland’s Key Players:

Granit Xhaka (Midfielder)

Having just signed a new contract at, London club, Arsenal the 25 year old has it all to play this World Cup. Xhaka has made an impressive 62 appearabces for his country, scoring in nine of those. He will have to keep his discipline in check though considering his, relatively high, tall of 10 red cards in his club career. Staying with the topic of club form, he has made an impressive 338 appearances including 140 for Borrusia Monchedgladbach and 94 for Arsenal. His left footed shots from distance will keep the Brazilian back-line in check.

Stephan Lichtsteiner (Defender)

The right-back will have quite a difficult job on his hands with Neymar running towards him over the ninety-minute period. However, given his 100-caps worth of experience, Stephen Lichtsteiner may be up for the challenge. Making an impressive 565 club appearances, including more than 250 for – Italian giants – Juventus, Switzerland’s captain will hope to contain the Brazilian attack with himself at the core. Leadership in the backline will be needed. With such experience, Brazil will have to flex their muscle to get by, which may be inevitable come the final whistle.

Ahmed’s Prediction: Brazil 3-0

Costa Rica v Serbia

Match Preview:

Going into the match with a total market value of just over 40 million euros, with 18 million of those being valued on Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas, the South Americans go into the game against Serbia as underdogs. Brian Oviedo is the highest valued outfield player – with a fee of 2 million Euros. Meanwhile, a Serbian team featuring the likes of Branislav Ivanonvic, Nemanja Matic, Dusan Tadic and, captain, Aleksandar Kolarov, the Serbians have more than enough first-class experience to get three points from Costa Rica.

Ahmed’s Prediction: Costa Rica 0 – 2 Serbia

Germany v Mexico

Match Preview:

Germany’s market value is more than 850 million euros. That says more than enough regarding the state of their squad, with almost every player in the squad starting at their respective clubs. Over recent International competition, the 2014 World Cup champions almost have a direct ticket to the semi-finals. Joachin Low’s men go into the game as favourites, however it will be interesting who starts in goal considering Manuel Neuer’s absence from league football due to injury. In comparison, Mexico’s market value is just below 150 million euros, however the Mexicans may be able to grab a point – if not all three – with the likes of Javier Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos both able to take advantage of – if afforded – half a chance.

Ahmed’s Prediction: Germany 3 – 0 Mexico