Brazil heads into the final day of group play needing a result to ensure they advance to the Round of 16. After two matches, Brazil is tied with Switzerland for the lead in Group E. Brazil holds a one point lead in goal differential, which is the first tiebreaker to determine World Cup standings. Here’s a look at the Group E standings heading into the final matches of group play.
Group E Standings
Brazil automatically advances to the Round of 16 with a win or draw against Serbia. Brazil can still advance with a loss, but it is a lot more complicated. A Brazil loss would require a Switzerland loss to Costa Rica. If both Brazil and Switzerland lose, the final spot of Group E would come down to tiebreakers. The first tiebreaker is goal differential, and Brazil had a one point lead heading into the final group match.
If Brazil is able to win their group, they would face Group F runner-up, Mexico, on Monday, June 2 at 10 a.m. Eastern. If Brazil advances as the group runner-up, they face the Group F winner, Sweden, on Tuesday, July 3 at 10 a.m. Brazil’s manager Tite was optimistic of Brazil’s chances, but emphasized that the result would not all fall on Neymar’s shoulders.
“There is an excessive responsibility [on Neymar] in terms of success and that is not the way to go, and the coach is not going to do that,” Tite explained to The Telegraph. “Each one of us has our own responsibility. We should not place it all on his shoulders, the whole group will solve it. Can he do it? Of course he can, in some circumstances, yes. Maybe we need one more match and he will be in his full form physically and technically, having his full potential, because he is outside the normal standards.”
Brazil needed late goals in stoppage time against Costa Rica to leave the match with a victory. Brazil has been looking to bounce back from a 7-1 defeat against Germany on their home soil in the 2014 World Cup semifinal match. Group E serves as the encore for what has been a wild day in Russia.
South Korea upset Germany to knock the defending champions out of the World Cup. Mexico lost to Sweden 3-0 in their final match of group play, but still advanced thanks to Germany’s loss. While Neymar garners a lot of the attention for Brazil, it has been Coutinho who has been the player of the tournament so far for Brazil. Former Brazil great Kaka encouraged fans to be patient with Neymar’s slow start.
“Neymar is our best player,” Kaka noted to ESPN. “And I think Tite is doing a great work on managing him and trying to get him as comfortable as possible and trying to make the group stronger. The group is so strong, and we see Coutinho as the protagonist, the most decisive player in Brazil.”