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FIFA Fever: Brazil and Germany to face major challengers

The matches for Day 3 of the FIFA World Cup Russia was not a cake walk for any of the teams present. France defeated Australia in a 2-1 victory with a goal scored in the last minute by Paul Pogba. The Australian team defended their goal valiantly giving France a much harder time than they would have expected. The Argentina vs Iceland game ended with a tie at 1-1. Iceland player Alfreo Finnbogason was the saving grace for his team as he put one past Argentina and levelled the score. While Argentina had a lot of opportunities to score against Iceland they were not able to make them count. In the final match between Denmark and Peru, Yussuf Poulsen of the former team managed to score at the 59th minute that gave his team the win.

Croatia played against Nigeria in the first match on Day 4 of the FIFA World Cup Russia. The Balkan Team thrashed their opponents with a 2-0 outcome. It was reasonable that Croatia would have had  the upper hand in the game due to their experience gained from playing against European teams and a line-up boasting of players from top clubs such as Luka Modric from Real Madrid, Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, and Mario Mandzukic from Juventus. It was Luka Modric who scored the 2nd goal that sealed Nigeria’s fate. Earlier in an international match Croatia was able to defeat another African team Senegal 2-1 on June 9. This proves the Balkan team is not intimidated by the physicality of the African players.

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For the second half, the day’s matches we have Costa Rica vs Serbia. Costa Rica did make it to the last WC as the underdog team and played well against their opponents. They have been assigned to Group E along with 5 time WC champion Brazil who will be a major bottleneck to their advancement to the quarterfinals. The team began their journey with a rocky start with their coach Paolo Wanchope being sacked from the team for getting into a fight and have lost most of their friendly matches in the run upto the WC. Keylor Navas the Costa Rican goalkeeper and Captain is also a regular in the Spanish Club Real Madrid where he has won three Champions League titles. The team will rely on him both for his leadership and experience as well as their last line of defense.

The Serbia of old has made appearances at the semi-finals of the WC. They were knocked out of Group D by Australia in the 2010 WC. This year they are being led by Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea who has been their captain since 2012. Having 3 Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League victory under his belt we are looking forward to see how far he will lead his team this WC. The addition of some promising young players to the squad, especially in the midfield, Serbia will be looking to exploit strategies with these players as the fulcrum. They will do their best to create scoring opportunities for Serbia’s lone striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The last two games of the day will be between Germany and Mexico followed by Brazil vs Switzerland. Germany and Brazil are favourites to reach the WC semi-finals with their rankings of 1st and 2nd respectively. One look at their line-up and one will see that they have both player strength and experience coupled together to make an explosive combination. Their team performance has been the best in the last few matches and there is nothing to indicate an unexpected results. The Brazillian team also has a bone to pick with the Germans after their premature exit in the previous WC. It is unlikely that they will make the same sloppy mistakes that Spain made against Portugal.

By changing up their team line-up for all the 46 games the Mexican team coach Juan Carlos Osorio brought his national team to the WC. While changing formations has not helped for all the matches the coach is not relenting on his stance. Perhaps this stubbornness may cost him as several players in the team have expressed their dissatisfaction at his willful experimenting. We are curious to know what kind of tactics he will deploy in their upcoming game against Germany.

Switzerland is sure to give Brazil a run for their money as they face off in the last game on Day 4 of the WC. The team has lost only one game since early 2016 and exited the UEFA Champions League in the penalties. They drew 1-1 with Spain and defeated Japan 2-0 in their warm-up matches. They have a strong defensive line-up with key players from Italian clubs to keep Brazillian strikers at bay. An experienced midfield will allow them to make strategic plays against Brazil’s defense. Xerdan Shaqiri of Bayen Munich who has been responsible for 5 of Switzerland’s 6 goals in previous tournaments, before Ronaldo scored his hat-trick on Day 2. Before Ronaldo he was the last player to have scored  a hat-trick in the 2014 WC against Honduras.

Watch these games on Sony Ten 2/HD in English and Sony Ten 3/HD in Hindi, as well as 4 other language feeds; and on digital with SonyLIV, the official Mobile and Internet broadcaster of FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.

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