Russia 2018: Switzerland vs Serbia Preview

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   A 1-0 win over Costa Rica and Brazil’s surprise 1-1 draw with Switzerland has left Serbia on the cusp of advancing from Group E in Russia.

   Serbia have not progressed to the knockout rounds of the World Cup since its independence, failing to get beyond the group stage in both 2006 and 2010.

   Kolarov, whose stunning free kick saw off Costa Rica, stressed Serbia will maintain its intensity when the Balkan nation faces Switzerland in Kaliningrad on Friday.

 

   Switzerland will be full of confidence after holding World Cup heavyweights Brazil to a draw in Rostov-on-Don

The Swiss frustrated Brazil — with their physical approach leading to Neymar being fouled on 10 occasions — and managed to escape with a precious point thanks to Steven Zuber’s controversial header.

  PLAYERS TO WATCH

Serbia – Aleksandar Mitrovic

All eyes will be on Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic again after his dazzling display but it could be Aleksandar Mitrovic’s time to shine. The Serbia forward amassed four shots against Costa Rica without scoring, having netted five goals in as many international appearances in 2018.

 

 

Switzerland – Stephan Lichtsteiner

   Arsenal’s recruit Stephan Lichtsteiner, is poised to make history. The 34-year-old fullback is set to become the player with the most World Cup appearances for Switzerland, having equaled Charles Antenen’s mark of eight matches in the draw with Brazil.

KEY OPTA FACTS:

This will be the first meeting between Serbia (as an independent nation) and Switzerland. They faced the Swiss 13 times as Yugoslavia, winning six (D5 L2).

 

   Switzerland has lost just one of its last 23 matches (W16 D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017.

 

 Steven Zuber has been involved in six goals in his last six international starts for Switzerland (four goals, two assists).

 

Branislav Ivanovic broke Dejan Stankovic’s record for appearances for Serbia in the opening match against Costa Rica — he now has 104 caps.

 

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