After a busy weekend at World Cup 2022, we have four more matches to look forward to on Monday.
Portugal and Uruguay will go head-to-head in a crunch clash in Group H, while Brazil are in action for the second time in Qatar.
Here is how we see the four matches playing out.
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Serbia were beaten 2-0 by Brazil in their opening encounter. Needless to say, Dragan Stojkovic and every other manager in soccer is ever happy with any sort of loss, but going down to the tournament favorites with the best online sportsbooks was expected by most. Serbia’s meetings with Cameroon and Switzerland were always going to be the ones that determined their fate.
This is also a big match for the Indomitable Lions, who face Brazil next. Cameroon were edged out 1-0 by Switzerland last time out, a result which probably leaves them just one defeat away from elimination. They had their moments against the Swiss but were not clinical enough when they worked the ball into promising positions.
Serbia’s attacking talent should come to the fore here, so we are backing Stojkovic’s side - who finished ahead of Portugal in the European section of World Cup qualification - to triumph.
There were plenty of positives for South Korea to take from their performance against Uruguay on matchday one. Paulo Bento has tried to make the team better in possession since he took charge, and the Korean players certainly looked comfortable on the ball in that goalless draw.
The next step, though, is creating better chances. South Korea were defensively solid but they struggled to fashion noteworthy opportunities against the Uruguayans. Unless they improve in that regard, they will be going home before the knockout phase.
Ghana’s problem was at the other end of the field: they found the net twice against Portugal but shipped three goals to lose narrowly to Cristiano Ronaldo and co. A draw would not be a great outcome for either team, but we envisage South Korea and Ghana canceling each other out.
Brazil were not at their very best in the first half of their meeting with Serbia last time out, but their superior quality ultimately made the difference. Richarlison was the hero for Tite’s team, as the Tottenham Hotspur striker found the back of the net twice, but this was a pleasing all-round performance from the five-time world champions.
Switzerland were functional rather than free-flowing in their 1-0 triumph over Cameroon, but it was crucial that they found a way to win no matter the style. This will be a much sterner examination of their credentials; in private, you feel the Swiss might settle for a one-goal defeat as that would give them the edge over Serbia on goal difference.
Even without the injured Neymar, Brazil should prove too strong for their European opponents. Back the Selecao to make it two wins from two in Qatar.
Portugal did not make things easy for themselves against Ghana on Thursday, but they ultimately got the job done in a 3-2 win. Fernando Santos has been criticized at times for his tactical cautiousness, but that was not the issue in a surprisingly open match against the Black Stars.
Uruguay were more solid in their 0-0 draw with South Korea, but they did not offer enough going forward. There was a distinct lack of pace in the team, while Luis Suarez struggled to get into the game. Uruguay may be better off dropping the legendary striker, but that would be a big move politically.
Partly as a result of Uruguay’s flat performance on matchday one, Portugal are strong favorites here - and we think backing them to win is the way to go.
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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