Serbia can qualify for the Second Round of the 2018 World Cup with victory over Switzerland on Friday evening, but Switzerland’s surprise draw against Brazil last weekend gives this match a new and unexpected dimension.
With a Brazil win against the Swiss expected, we would have assumed that this would have been a straight up “winner takes all” game that would have probably seen the victorious side going through. However, with Switzerland sitting two points behind Serbia going into this one, they know a draw would give them a huge chance of qualification, knowing that Serbia still need to play Brazil while they have their easiest game of the group against Costa Rica. With that in mind, a cagey draw looks a dead cert at 2/1 with Coral.
Serbia had plenty of chances to win more convincingly against Costa Rica in their opener, but their lack of a top-drawer striker was apparent when Aleksandr Mitrovic was guilty of a few missed chances. Switzerland themselves don’t have anybody in their goal scoring department that they consider world class, and I’m expecting a very congested midfield battle in Kaliningrad. Under 1.5 goals looks like the way to go here, and you can get it as high as 13/8 with William Hill.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was the standout Serbian performer in their win against Costa Rica last Sunday, and it was his neat feet and physicality that helped his side win the midfield battle and create chances. The Lazio midfielder will be vital again on Friday night, and if anybody is going to pop up with a goal it could well be him. Back the SMS to deliver on this occasion with a goal anytime at 9/2.
On the whole, it will be a big stretch for anybody to see this one as a potential classic. A defeat for either side is disastrous, and a draw would leave the destiny of both sides firmly in their own hands. A draw and under 2.5 goals pays slightly better than the draw outright at 2/1, but if you’re feeling particularly brave then take a chance on the 0-0 bore draw at 6/1 with Coral.