Brazil national team
Brazil national team Reuters

Brazil will once again look to their best player of the Fifa World Cup 2018 so far – Philippe Coutinho –for inspiration, with some help from Neymar, of course, when they play Serbia in their final Group E match in Moscow on Wednesday.

Like so many of the top teams in this World Cup, Brazil has also found it difficult to get properly going in Russia.

After a draw with Switzerland, they were on their way to having to settle for just a point once again, before Coutinho notched a timely winner against Costa Rica.

Neymar then added the gloss to the scoreline, but the standout player for Brazil in this Fifa World Cup 2018 has undoubtedly been Coutinho.

Maybe what that will do is take the pressure a little off Neymar, who, after the final whistle went against Costa Rica, broke down in tears, with the weight of expectations, perhaps, getting to him.

However, that goes with the territory when you play for Brazil, particularly in a World Cup, and Neymar and the rest of the side just need to get on with it, find the result they need against Serbia and prepare for the last 16.

The Serbs were on the receiving end of a late goal in their last match when Switzerland pulled off a come-from-behind victory. Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri scored the goals in a politically-charged match for Switzerland, a result which has put Serbia in a tricky position.

They now know a win is required to guarantee qualification – a draw might be enough, but then they will be relying on Switzerland vs Costa Rica result – and maybe that will turn this Brazil vs Serbia match into a classic.

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Douglas Costa, who came on for Willian to start the second half against Costa Rica, and had a big influence. However, the Juventus winger will not feature against Serbia, after picking up a hamstring injury in that game, which means he hasn't travelled with the squad to Moscow.

That injury means Willian, disappointing against Costa Rica, is likely to keep his place in Brazil starting XI.

Danilo, who started the World Cup as the first-choice right-back, will miss a second straight game with a thigh issue, which means Fagner, decent in his first World Cup match, will get another go down the right of Brazil's defence.

The key for the Selecao will be Coutinho and Neymar. If those two find a way to receive the ball often and dominate Serbia, they will create chances and score goals. Serbia needs to find a way to keep both of them quiet.


While a lot of the Serbia players are on yellow cards – which means suspension for the next match, if there is one, if they pick up another – the focus for Mladen Krstajic will be on getting the right result on Wednesday and then worrying about that later.

There could be a change in Serbia's defence for the Brazil match, with Branislav Ivanovic moving to the centre of the defence, just to shore up that crucial area a little bit more. If that is the case, then Nikola Milenkovic could make way for right-back Antonio Rukavina.

Possible XI:

Brazil: Alisson Becker; Fagner, Miranda, Thiago Silva, Marcelo; Casemiro, Paulinho, Philippe Coutinho; Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar.

Serbia: Vladimir Stojkovic; Antonio Rukavina, Branislav Ivanovic, Dusko Tosic, Aleksandar Kolarov; Dusan Tadic, Luka Milivojevic, Nemanja Matic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Filip Kostic; Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Fifa World Cup 2018 Global TV listings and live stream

Singapore: StarHub TV and StarHub Go

Brazil: SporTV, Globo, Fox Sports 1 Brasil

UK: ITV, Live stream: The ITV Hub

US: Fox Sports, fubo TV; Live stream: Fox Sports GO

Argentina: TyC Sports, DIRECTV Sports; Live stream: DIRECTV Play

Australia: Optus Sport, SBS

Bangladesh: PTV Sports, Sony ESPN