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World Cup preview: Costa Rica v Serbia, Brazil v Switzerland, Germany v Mexico

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Sunday 17 Jun 2018

World Cup preview: Costa Rica v Serbia, Brazil v Switzerland, Germany v Mexico

(Sharecast News) - Reigning champions Germany launch their World Cup campaign on Sunday before fellow favourites Brazil seek to begin atoning for their 7-1 semifinal defeat at the hands of the holders in the late kick-off.
1300 BST - Costa Rica v Serbia (ITV) (Group E)

1600 BST - Germany v Mexico (BBC) (Group F)

1900 BST - Brazil v Switzerland (ITV) (Group E)

In the day's early fixture an ageing Costa Rica team, still packed with players from their surprise romp to the last tournament's quarter finals, face off against Serbia.

Watch out for the Central American side's captain and star player Bryan Ruiz who's no stranger to a silky touch or cheeky Marseille roulette, as well as eternal Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell and the brilliantly named Ian Smith.

Serbia will undoubtedly field Manchester United's Nemanja Matic and Crystal Palace's set piece expert Luka Milivojevic, but keep an eye out for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic who is billed as one of Europe's best young players.

2014 champions Germany feature in the mid-afternoon match and it is impossibly hard to find a weak point in their side.

Maverick attacker Thomas Muller has scored five goals in each of the last two tournaments and will be looking to better that record here, but Joachim Lw's side feature a new generation of German talent including RB Leipzig's Timo Werner, the youngest player to reach 100 and 150 Bundesliga appearances.

Mexico are Germany's unlucky opponents are Mexico, who's 39 year-old captain Rafael Marquez is making his fourth appearance at the World Cup, fielding a side featuring West Ham's Javier Hernandez and young star Hirving Lozano who scored 17 goals in 29 games for PSV Eindhoven last season.

Brazil come to the tournament a changed team after their unceremonious and humiliating exit from the World Cup they hosted in 2014, with a terrifying attack featuring Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Gabriel Jesus and marauding Real Madrid left-back Marcelo.

Oh, and Neymar. Probably best not to forget Neymar.

Switzerland look likely to put up a serious fight against Neymar and co however, as the team has quietly climbed the FIFA rankings to 6th in the world.

The team features the exciting talents of young and pacey attacker Breel Embolo and diminutive winger Xherdan Shaqiri but lacks an out-and-out goalscorer, normally relying on the slightly underwhelming Haris Seferovic to lead the line.

With a record of just 12 goals in 51 caps, Seferovic faced boos from his own fans in Basel in Switzerland's World Cup qualification play-off game against Northern Ireland in November.

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