Can Mesut Ozil inspire Germany against Switzerland? Photo: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

After a stunning Friday and Saturday of action-packed games, what will we have in store on Sunday?

Following Argentina’s 1-1 draw with Iceland, and plucky displays by Egypt against Uruguay and Australia against France, there are clearly no guarantees in this World Cup!

But with two more heavyweights in defending champions Germany and perennial favourites Brazil kicking off their campaigns on Sunday, will that change?

2pm: Costa Rica v Serbia

Costa Rica were unbeaten in the 2014 World Cup in regulation time, only going down via a penalty shootout to The Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

Their biggest star is Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but can he stop a star-studded Serbia?

Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic will pull the strings in midfield, along with Dusan Sadic of Southampton, backed up by a powerful defence manned by Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov.

Prediction: Serbia 1-0 Costa Rica

5pm: Germany v Mexico

The German juggernaut will be out to prove that they are far more than an aging side that are hanging on to their 2014 glory.

They had a welcome boost just before the tournament as star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was declared fit after a lengthy absence with a foot problem.

The galaxy of stars, ranging from Neuer and Jerome Boateng at the back to Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos in midfield, is only partly offset by a strike-force that may lead pundits to wonder where the goals will come from.

Coach Joachim Loew will hope that that man will be youngster Timo Werner, but he may need help from Ozil, Julian Draxler and Marco Reus.

Mexico have Javier Hernandez upfront, who is certainly someone that can put the ball into the net. Veteran Rafael Marquez is in the squad, but look out for winger Hirving Lozano and striker Carlos Vela.

Prediction: Germany 2-1 Mexico

Roberto Firmino can emerge as a global superstar with a big performance at the 2018 World Cup for Brazil. Photo: Dave Thompson/AP

8pm: Brazil v Switzerland

Right, Neymar is fit – or is he? Brazil coach Tite said on Saturday that his star forward was “not 100 percent”, even though PSG’s French Ligue 1 Player of the Season is still expected to feature against the Swiss.

But whether he starts or comes on off the bench, there is more than enough artillery for the Selecao to get past Switzerland. Despite being such a quality player, Roberto Firmino could get into the upper echelon of world football by having a big tournament, while Philippe Coutinho will provide the spark in midfield.

The Swiss are not a half-bad themselves, with the likes of England-based Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka looking to grab a point off the Brazilians.

Prediction: Brazil 2-0 Switzerland

 

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