By 90Min
June 24, 2018

Philippe Coutinho is looking forward to coming up against Nemanja Matic as Brazil prepare for their important final Group E match against Serbia.

The former Liverpool attacker and Matic have regularly faced each other during their careers, with battles against Chelsea and Manchester United always proving to be exciting occasions. 

In the build up to the encounter, The Mirror quote Coutinho as saying: “Serbia is always a hard team and they’ll battle to the end.

“Before the tournament I would have said that the aim would be to have the group decided before we played them.

“But we know what to expect. Matic is a player I know particularly well from my days in the Premier League. It’s not a personal challenge, because we’re meeting in Russia not in Liverpool or Manchester, but I’ll be ready.

“But I have to say that with Brazil we trust in what we do rather than worry so much about the others.”

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Brazil have endured a disappointing start to the World Cup, despite them picking up four points. A lacklustre draw with Switzerland was followed up by a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica, in which Brazil failed to impress once again.

Coutinho has proved vital for his country, scoring the decisive goals in both games, and the winger knows his side need to perform well against Serbia, or risk missing out on qualification.

“We need to put in a performance that not only wins the game but helps to make other people fear Brazil in this tournament," Coutinho said.

Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

“We haven’t talked about failure, we’ve just talked about how we can improve.

“The whole thing about the World Cup is that every game is so big and you cannot think ahead. For me, just to be here and to play for Brazil is what I have always dreamed of.

ATTILA KISBENEDEK/GettyImages

“I think this is how we have to face our last match of the group. We must be calm because we need those three points.”

Brazil currently sit top of Group E, but defeat to Serbia would see Brazil relying on Costa Rica to upset Switzerland, who are also still in the race to qualify. Group E will be very close, meaning teams cannot afford to fall at the final hurdle.

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