Serbia v Switzerland: Predictions, Odds and Betting Tips
22nd June 2018 – 19.00 GMT
Group E – Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad – TV: RTE
Serbia and Switzerland will try to build on positive starts to their World Cup campaigns when they meet in Kaliningrad on Friday evening. Mladen Krstajic’s men beat Costa Rica in their opener while Switzerland held favourites Brazil to a 1-1 draw in Rostov.
Both of these teams will go into their second game in high spirits after good results last time out. Serbia know that another three points will see them into the knockout stages of the World Cup finals for the first time as a sole nation. Since the start of their qualifying campaign, the Serbians have lost just one competitive fixture.
But Switzerland’s record is even more impressive, having been beaten only once in 23 matches. The Swiss showed a great resilience against Brazil and that contributes to them heading into this match as favourites.
It’s a tight match to call and no team is going to win this one comfortably. A draw is probably the most likely outcome at 21/10.
Switzerland and Serbia both scored over two goals a game during qualification although that included matches against minnows like Andorra and Moldova. In matches against bigger nations, both teams tend to err on the side of caution and few goals are scored. The opening results act as evidence of that.
A point apiece wouldn’t be a disaster for either nation as they head into the final set of matches, but a defeat certainly would, especially if Brazil beat Costa Rica as expected.
Don’t expect a goal fest in Kaliningrad. A stalemate is at a best price of 7/1.
As made clear previously, there’s little reason to back a monsoon of goals on Friday evening. Both teams’ frontmen, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Haris Seferovic, aren’t known for being prolific and are selected for their link-up play more than their scoring feats.
Serbia and Switzerland will initially set up their starting line-ups to avoid the disaster of defeat. The only times Serbia have scored more than twice in the last 12 matches has been against Bolivia and Moldova, for example.
As the match wears on, there’s likely to be more bravery in both teams’ approach, but not enough to see a thriller. Under 1.5 goals is at 15/8.
- Switzerland have lost only one of their last 23 matches – a run stretching back to May 2016
- Switzerland have conceded just twice in their last seven games –
Switzerland to keep a clean sheet – 7/4
- No playing team has had fewer shots at goal at the World Cup so far than Switzerland (6)
- Steven Zuber has four goals in his last nine Switzerland appearances –
Zuber to score first – 9/1
- Branislav Ivanovic became Serbia’s most-capped player of all time against Costa Rica (104 caps)
Serbia and Switzerland will face each other in their second fixture of Group E play. This could prove a pivotal match in determining who qualifies from the group with Brazil as favourites and these two battling Costa Rica for the remaining spot
Never previously met, but Yugoslavia (which disintegrated before the Serbia state was formed) defeated Switzerland 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier, 1st September 2001.
World Cup Qualifiers
Serbia topped a tricky qualification group which included Republic of Ireland, Wales and Austria having failed to reach the 2014 finals.
SFR Yugoslavia twice finished fourth in the World Cup finals yet as an independent nation, Serbia have never progressed beyond the group stages.
Nemanja Matic, Aleksander Kolarov and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are among their key players.
Top Goalscorers in Qualifiers
Aleksander Mitrovic – 6 Goals
Aleksandar Kolarov- 2 Goals
The Swiss qualified with a narrow playoff victory over Northern Ireland and have reached the last 16 in two of the past three tournaments.
Coach Vladimir Petkovic goes up against his home nation with a talented side which includes Xherdan Shaqiri, Ricardo Rodriguez and captain Stephan Lichsteiner.
Top Goal Scorers in Qualifiers
Haris Seferović – 4 goals
Stephan Lichtsteiner – 3 goals
19:00 – Kaliningrad Stadium