For Brazil, the beginning of the World Cup in Russia is looking well, so it must complete the group stage as the leader of Group E, according to Marcos Penido, the former head of the Association of Sports Observers of Rio de Janeiro.
"Brazil got into such a group in which it is simply obliged to lead, especially since if it takes the second place then it will have to compete with the leader of the group F and that will likely be Germany. So Brazil needs to lead the group and get rid of the risk of facing Germany [in the round of 16]," Penido told Sputnik.
"The Swiss game has improved, but has still not risen to the level of big football. I do not think that for Brazil that is a dangerous rival. But in both matches [in the history of the World Cup] against Costa Rica, Brazilians had to sweat. In one of them, Brazil won with a score of 5-2 [in 2002], in the second it won with 1-0 [in 1990]. At the World Cup in Brazil, Costa Ricans showed themselves very well,” Penido said.
According to the former head observer, Serbian football is similar to Brazilian, but it is more aggressive. In his opinion, from the Balkan states, Croatia will be stronger than Serbia.
In addition, Penido praised Tite, the head coach of the Brazil national football team. The Brazilian coach did “some serious, thorough and correct work,” Penido said.
"Perhaps there are still doubts about one or two players, but I think that our team is actually very good," Penido said.
Nevertheless, before the World Cup, Brazil has yet to hold two friendly matches on March 23 and 27, 2018. Neymar and the team will meet with the national teams of Russia and Germany.
The two games will be help them prepare for the World Cup, but it will be after a period of intense training that the Brazilian team will be fully prepared, Penido said.
Russia will host the FIFA World Cup for the first time from June 14 to July 15, 2018, with the games set to take place in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg and Sochi.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.