vs. Location: Spartak Stadium, Moscow Brazil roster: Goleiros: Alisson (Roma) Cássio (Corinthians) Ederson (Manchester City) Laterais: Danilo (Manchester City) Filipe Luís (Atlético de Madrid) Marcelo (Real Madrid) Fagner (Corinthians) Zagueiros: Marquinhos (PSG) Miranda (Inter de Milão) Thiago Silva (PSG) Geromel (Grêmio) Meio-campistas: Casemiro (Real Madrid) Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan) Fernandinho (Manchester City) Paulinho (Barcelona) Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona) Willian (Chelsea) Fred (Shakhtar) Atacantes: Neymar (PSG) Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) Douglas Costa (Juventus) Taison (Shakhtar) Having won its first game in the 2018 World Cup with two goals in stoppage time and thereby eliminating fellow Latin Americans Costa Rica, Brazil now turns to the group’s final game with the objective of reaching a total tally of 7 points and winning the group in its confrontation with Serbia. Serbia qualified directly for the World Cup as the winners of UEFA Group D – a group which was not comprised by the strongest teams Europe has to offer. Serbia lost only once at Austria (2-3) and drew three times against teams such as Moldova, Georgia, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland. On paper, Serbia does not present a serious challenge. Serbia drew 1-1 at the Republic of Korea in November 2017, and lost at home to Morocco 1-2 this past March – only to defeat Nigeria 2-0 2 days later. Serbia lost a friendly to Chile 23 days before the match vs. Brazil, and destroyed Bolivia 5-1 on June 9. In this World Cup, however, Serbia has shown it is not a weak team. It handily defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in its opener, and although it lost 1-2 against Switzerland, the Serbians did not take long to open the scoreboard. Given the Swiss were able to score two goals, and as the Serbians now trail Brazil due to goal differential, it is likely Serbia will go on the attack rather than "parking the bus" which Costa Rica did - and this should enable Brazil to go forward and attack. Although Serbia emerged in the geopolitical world and in sports as a separate entity only from 1991 in the aftermath of Yugoslavia’s dissolution, FIFA and UEFA both view Serbia as the direct successor of Yugoslavia. Thus, if observers were to consider 2018 Serbia as the newly “refurbished” Yugoslavia which participated in international competitions since the first World Cup, this match will mark the fifth confrontation between the two teams. From Yugoslavia emerged nations such as Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia, and against Switzerland, Serbian history was at hand. Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, who scored for Switzerland, were born in Kosovo, an entity which Serbia refuses to recognize politically. Serbian fans booed both from the start, and upon scoring, both gestured with their hands, as if to emulate the shape of an eagle, which appears on the Albanian flag, as if to provoke the Serbian team. Brazil has an overwhelming advantage against the old Yugoslavia, with 9 wins, 7 draws, and only 2 defeats in 18 matches. Both defeats occurred before Brazil because a powerhouse in international football – at the 1930 World Cup, with a 2-1 win for Yugoslavia and an 8-4 friendly win for the eastern Europeans in Belgrade. That was the last time Brazil lost to this team. In World Cups after 1930, Brazil beat Yugoslavia 2-0 in Rio de Janeiro, drew 1-1 in Switzerland in 1954, and drew 0-0 in West Germany 20 years later. Brazil last played Yugoslavia in 2002, in a preparation match before the Korea/Japan World Cup, and Brazil won 2-0. Against Serbia itself, Brazil played once - on June 6, 2014, in a preparatory friendly before the 2014 World Cup. Brazil won 1-0, with a goal scored by Fred (whom nobody here misses) and in a disjointed game which should have given warnings Brazil wasn't in good shape. Brazil and Serbia also met in the U-20 World Cup final, which Serbia won 2-1. Gabriel Jesus was there for Brazil whereas 4 players from that U-20 Serbian side are in Russia: Marko Grujić, Miloš Veljković, Andrija Živković, and Sergej Milinković-Savić. This last player started against Switzerland and did not score a goal - and earned a yellow card. Tite, Brazil's manager, kept his starting XI unchanged from the debut vs. Switzerland when he faced Costa Rica (minus Fagner who replaced a slightly injured Danilo), but he made key substitutions which improved the team and ultimately yielded in a victory. Firmino and Douglas Costa did well while Paulinho was fair and Willian was disappointing. With a win achieved and less tension and pressure, it remains to be seen what changes if any Tite will implement. The following was Serbia’s starting XI vs. Switzerland: Vladimir Stojković; Branislav Ivanović, Nikola Milenković, Duško Tošić, Aleksandar Kolarov; Nemanja Matić, Nemanja Matić; Dušan Tadić, Sergej Milinković-Savić, Filip Kostić; Aleksandar Mitrović.