We are now halfway through the group stage with Russia, Uruguay and France all through to round of last 16.
Day Nine sees Group E take centre stage as Serbia aim to book their place in next round, whilst Costa Rica can ensure a three-way fight for final qualifying spot with a draw or win.
There is also the small matter of Nigeria vs Iceland, where defeat will see the African side eliminated whilst Iceland can boost their knockout hopes.
Brazil vs Costa Rica
Defeat here and Costa Rica’s World Cup will be over, whilst anything less than victory for Brazil will place them under huge pressure entering their final group game against Serbia on Wednesday.
I was impressed on Sunday’s by Brazil attack so if can produce more of same here, they should be favourites to get the win.
Costa Rica however were impressive defensively against Serbia despite a 1-0 loss in their opener.
Despite that, I can’t see them living for Brazil and past World Cup meetings suggest likewise so am backing Brazil here for a comfortable win.
Prediction: Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica
Nigeria vs Iceland
For little Iceland, there is no bigger match than this!!!
Win then all they have to do is draw with Croatia in final group game then they will DUMP Argentina out at the group stage.
It’s as simple as that but Nigeria will view this as must win as well, otherwise they be going home.
The African side however is inexperienced with the youngest squad average and history is stacked against them, having lost their only meeting 3-0 in 1981.
They also haven’t progressed from their group on the two previous occasions when lost their opening game.
Pressure however will be on Iceland here given Argentina’s loss against Croatia and I can see them doing a nice little job here.
Prediction: Nigeria 0-2 Iceland
Serbia vs Switzerland
Serbia can secure qualification to the next round with a win here whilst Switzerland face a final group game decider as they and Brazil tussle for what could be the second qualification spot.
The Swiss like to play with a physical approach which will test a Serbia side who play attacking football to absolute limits as Brazil found out.
I can see the result of Brazil vs Costa Rica potentially influencing this game to a certain extent.
A Brazil win will put Switzerland under pressure to get a result whilst a Costa Rica win will blow Group E open entering this game, therefore forcing both teams to go for the win.
Under their old name of Yugoslavia, Serbia have escaped their group on three of four occasions when won their opening match so am going to back them here to have the edge.
Prediction: Serbia 1-0 Switzerland