BRAZIL should cruise through by winning Group E but deciding who joins them isn't easy.
Bookies can hardly split Switzerland and Serbia while Costa Rica can't be under-estimated even if they are rank outsiders.
I picked Brazil as potential winners earlier in the year but that was before Neymar's injury. For me and any backers it was could to see the PSG star mark his comeback with a stunning goals against Croatia at the weekend so all looks well on that front.
The samba stars are a much more rounded side under coach Tite and while Dani Alves will be a huge miss Neymar has a big support cast featuring the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Paulinho, Douglas Costa, Fernandinho and Roberto Firmino,
Brazil have lost only one first-round game since 1966 and that was a dead rubber so they should stroll this one picking up seven or nine points. To top the section they are a biggest 4-11 with Paddy Power and it's a good one for accumulators.
Second place will probably be decided by the game between the Swiss and Serbia and the Serbs have the advantage of playing Brazil last and by then the favourites should be through.
Remarkably Switzerland are ranked sixth in the world and that's why these tables are a bit of a joke. They qualified well which is why only five sides in the world are rated better than them.
Serbia looked a talented bunch with the likes of Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Matic, Luka Milivojevic and Dusan Tadic but up front they rely on Aleksandar Mitrovic a little too much.
Switzerland's star man is Xherdan Shaqiri who has just been relegated with Stoke but it's in defence where they shine with 10 clean sheets in 12 games.
It's almost a toss of a coin but I'll take Serbia at 5-4 with McBookie to qualify ahead of the Swiss who are 11-10 with Betway.
Costa Rica were within a whisker of making the semis four years ago but on European soil I can't see a repeat. They have half a dozen or so players from Brazil but they won't surprise anyone but won't make it easy for the Swiss or Serbs.
They are 9-2 with McBookie to qualify and 5-6 at betfair to finish bottom.
- Brazil to win Group E
- Brazil to bt Swiss & Serbia (4-5, Marathonbet)
- Serbia to qualify
- Costa Rica to finish bottom