Brazil vs Serbia Prediction
24th November 2022
22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT
Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Current Form (Last Five Matches):
Brazil vs Serbia Prediction Match Overview
In the final match of the World Cup’s first round of fixtures, Brazil take on Serbia in Lusail at 10 pm local time on the tournament’s fifth day. The temperature should be mild at this time, maybe aiding the Serbians. Brazil are the pre-tournament favourites and ranked first in the world, whereas Serbia are ranked 21st.
Brazil come into the tournament in spectacular form, having scored 18 goals and only conceded two in their previous five games. This run includes heavy victories against Tunisia, Ghana, South Korea, and, impressively, away at altitude in Bolivia. They topped the CONMEBOL qualifying section, scoring 40 goals in 17 games and finishing with a goal difference of +35. They enter the World Cup in fantastic condition and are fancied by many to lift the trophy.
Serbia also enter the tournament in good form, having won four of their last five games, including an impressive double over Sweden. They have scored many goals (14) and not conceded many (4). Indeed, they topped Group 4 of Nations League B ahead of Norway and have qualified for League A for the next edition. They hope to do well in the World Cup, possessing an impressive midfield and much firepower in attack.
Injuries and Suspensions
Will not play:
Might not play: Marquinhos, Antony (Brazil); Lukic, Mitrovic, Kostic, Veljkovic (Serbia)
Brazil vs Serbia Prediction Analysis
Brazil will likely line up with a 4-2-3-1 formation, though they could opt to add an extra midfielder and go 4-3-3. Serbia can go three at the back and play 3-4-1-2. In goal for Brazil, Alisson will likely get the nod over Ederson. His ability to initiate attacks and sweep up on his line will be as crucial as ever. Indeed, he will have to play out long and short to start moves off for Brazil. The full-backs are likely to be Eder Militao on one side (a centre-back playing full-back) and a more natural fit Alex Telles on the other side. Danilo, Dani Alves, and Alex Sandro are further options in the full-back positions. Militao will likely be more conservative as he is not a natural right-back. However, Telles will be expected to drive forward and support Vinicius Junior on Brazil’s left-hand side. Brazilian star player and talisman Neymar will also drift towards this side so that Brazil can create overloads behind Serbia’s wing-back on this side. Brazil will likely have most of the ball. With their embarrassment of riches in forward areas, they will look to play little passes in behind and open up little gaps and pockets in the Serbian defensive third. This situation is where Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Nemanja Gudelj must be disciplined and cover any spaces which might become exposed.
Indeed, the midfield battle in this match is crucial. Serbia are likely to be pinned back often, and they will play on the counter. Casemiro and Fred (and Lucas Paqueta, Fabinho, or Bruno Guimaraes if Brazil coach Tite goes 4-3-3) will try to control the game against the powerful Serbian midfielders. Casemiro has much experience, and he will seek to dictate the tempo of the game, speeding it up or slowing it down as he sees fit. There is much emphasis on Dusan Tadic to link the play for Serbia. He will drop deeper from a number 10 position to help out the two midfielders and make the space more congested and compact. This lack of space will ensure that Brazil must be creative and inventive to create chances. Brazil will need Telles to overlap and Vinicius Junior and the winger on the other side (likely Raphinha) to come inside and try to get shots off at the Serbian goalkeeper. They can also link play up with busy forward Richarlison. Brazil have much attacking potency and have scored goals for fun in recent years, so Serbia have their work cut out to stop them.
Serbia have many attacking threats themselves, however. When they have the ball, the powerful Milinkovic-Savic can initiate attacks by feeding Tadic. Tadic can get forward on transitions and feed the ball wide to wing-backs Filip Kostic and Andrija Zivkovic. Both wing-backs are tricky and good dribblers, and Kostic especially possesses a fantastic cross. This aerial threat could be crucial for Serbia as they have two men in the middle who are excellent in the air – Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic. Both men are good on the ground too. However, they are tall, imposing, physically dominant strikers and crosses from Tadic, Zivkovic, and Kostic could prove crucial. Indeed, Serbia are a big team generally and will look to set pieces and balls into the box to find joy. It is here that Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, and goalkeeper Alisson must be brave and strong in the Brazilian penalty area. The aerial threat will be Serbia’s key weapon in this match. In contrast, Brazil are more likely to try to play through Serbia on the ground and expose the three centre-backs.
Both teams have options to change things. Indeed, Brazil have a wide array of attacking players they can start or introduce from the bench. These options include the likes of the skilful, industrious Gabriel Jesus or tricky wide men Antony, Rodrygo, or Gabriel Martinelli. These players can freshen things up if the starters don’t perform. Serbia can introduce talented young midfielder Ivan Ilic, Marko Grujic, and backup forward Luka Jovic. Jovic’s career has stalled recently, but he is still a threat.
Brazil Key Players
Vinicius has come into his own over the last year and started to deliver on the potential everyone knew he had. Real Madrid fans have grown accustomed to seeing him take the left-hand side by storm. His inventiveness, dribbling and searing pace will be especially vital against Serbia. He will look to exploit the spaces Zivkovic leaves when he ventures forward. He will dribble towards the Serbian centre-backs and try to link up with his fellow forwards or shoot on goal on his favoured right foot. Overall, he must provide Brazil with creativity as this is a physically imposing Serbian side. He will also come into contact with the Serbian defensive midfielders on the cover. He is pretty slight of frame and must not be intimidated by a potential physical battle.
Neymar is the star player and the golden boy of Brazilian football. It cannot be underestimated just how crucial he is to this team. He will look to link play in the number 10 position, coming deep into contact with Milinkovic-Savic and Gudelj. He is likely to have a free role. He will roam all over the place, looking to create havoc with his elegance, dribbling ability, and incisive passing. He must link up well with Vinicius and Raphinha in that line of three behind the striker. Indeed, the attention he will demand from Serbia should be vital in creating space for the others to exploit, as he will sometimes be double or triple-marked. Brazil have threats all over the final third, and Neymar will have plenty of options to play through on goal.
Serbia Key Players
Milinkovic-Savic is a tall, powerful, classy player. Indeed, he is close to being the complete central midfielder. Blessed with great technique and being decent in the air, his intelligence, positioning, and ability to cover ground will be paramount if Serbia are to get anything from this game. He must not let the Brazilians play around him, and he must stay compact with midfield partner Gudelj. Given his height, he is a danger from set pieces in attacking areas. When Serbia can break, he can feed Tadic and the wide players to supply Mitrovic and Vlahovic up front. He will be involved in a physical battle with Casemiro, and how well he does against the Manchester United man could go a long way to determining the result of this match. Casemiro will easily find the Brazilian front players if he cannot cope.
Tadic is a technically proficient, creative player who can play all along the forward line. In Serbia’s system, he will likely play in the hole as a link between the midfield four and the forwards. He will be expected to drop deep and form a triangle with the Serbian midfielders to minimise the control the Brazilian midfield can find. He must be diligent in his defensive duties. In forward areas, he is a very creative player with a vicious shot. He can also cross well and play a nice through ball. Indeed, he has accumulated many goals and assists in his time at Ajax. He, Kostic and Zivkovic will likely be the primary supply for the two forwards. Tadic warrants being named a key player due to his importance to Serbia both defensively and offensively in this match.
Brazil vs Serbia Prediction
This game is likely Brazil’s most hardest game in this group, though Switzerland could also make this claim. Nonetheless, this should be challenging for Brazil. Serbia are in good form, and if they can get all their best attacking players on the pitch, they will offer a threat. They will look to catch Brazil cold in their opening game. Brazil should control the ball and win the game, but we don’t think it will be a walkover. We predict Brazil will win by a goal, maybe two, if they play well.