2018 World Cup tournament action continued in Russia June 17, 2018, and featured play in Group E and Group F. Brazil and Switzerland tied 1-1 while Serbia defeated Costa Rica on Aleksandar Kolarov’s goal in the 56th minute to give Orlovi the early lead in Group E with three points and plus-one goal differential. Group F action saw Mexico shock the number one team in the world and defending champion Germany, 1-0. Perhaps just as shocking were the Brazilians drawing with Switzerland, although the Swiss are ranked sixth in the FIFA/COCA-COLA World Rankings.

People were looking for a strong performance from Brazil in their opening match trying to amend for the 7-1 humiliation on home soil during handed to them by eventual champion Germany in 2014.

El Tri brings respect to CONCACAF

Mexico, who haven’t made the quarterfinals since 1986, and Costa Rica, with their shocking quarter-final appearance in 2014, represent the two best finishes for the mostly North American Confederation in any World Cup. The United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, opening the door for Panama, who are not expected to do well in Group G with England and Belgium. Shocking the Germans today in Moscow at Luzhniki Stadium shows El Tri can be considered legitimate contenders for the semi-finals.

Group F must wait for tomorrow’s play between Sweden and South Korea to determine the standings.

Serbia in control of Group E

Serbia benefits from the tie between Brazil and Switzerland as each of those teams earn a single point in the standings while Serbia picked up three points by winning. Serbia and Costa Rica split possession evenly during their 1-0 match with Kolarov’s brilliant second-half free-kick being the difference despite several good chances by the Serbians, including a magnificent save by Los Ticos keeper Keylor Navas in the 49th minute to keep the score 0-0.

The result was far different for Costa Rica when compared to their 2014 quarter-final run when they shocked Group D favorite Uruguay 3-1 in their opening match. Brazil and Switzerland await Los Ticos, and one needs to look elsewhere when cheering for CONCACAF to represent the region well.

Brazil falters against Switzerland

Brazil took an expected 1-0 lead in the 20th minute when Phillippe Coutinho rocketed a long distance shot which struck the far post and went into the net for a goal.

The Swiss equalized in the 50th minute on Steven Zuber’s header on Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner kick with the Brazilians perhaps playing a bit lazily. Ten fouls were called on Brazilian superstar Neymar, and the Swiss drew three yellow cards for the match. Brazil will look to rebound against a possibly out-matched Costa Rica while Switzerland, needing a win, will face Serbia when Group E action continues June 22, 2018.