Brazil and Switzerland kick off their FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign in Rostov on Sunday 17th June. The South Americans are by far the favourites in Group E and will face the pressure of confirming their superiority.
Brazil vs Switzerland
The second game in Group E will be Brazil’s first after that disgraceful 7-1 loss against Germany back in 2014. The five-time World Cup champions sacked two managers since then but appear to have found in Tite the missing ingredient to recover their dignity and success.
Switzerland, on the other hand, made an honourable appearance in the last World Cup and almost secured a direct qualification in this year’s edition after finishing second in their group, level on points with Portugal. They ended up qualifying in the playoffs after beating Northern Ireland in a two-legged contest.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, both teams have different expectations and objectives.
Neymar and Co.
Brazil have finally recovered their confidence after the 2014 competition and are now top-tier contenders for the title. Tite’s appointment was indeed the right choice as the manager re-established their joyful playing style.
Every country has their main man. That one player that everyone knows can make a difference. Neymar is certainly Brazil’s man but he’s not alone.
The South Americans’ squad is impressive. Led by four-time UEFA Champions League winners Marcelo and Casemiro, and PSG stars Thiago Silva and Neymar, the Brazilians have been outstanding in recent games. If they’re able to reproduce that level of performance, the first place in Group E will come naturally.
Recently recovered from injury, Neymar played in the most part of Brazil’s last two warm-up matches. Against Croatia, he came on from the bench and provided a whole new dynamic.
The former Barcelona star gave Coutinho the freedom to move between the lines and collect the ball from the defenders when needed. Connecting with his teammates on both sides of the pitch.
Tite repeated this formation on the friendly against Austria and saw his team perform even better. The movement became more incisive, as the players started to find themselves more naturally on the pitch.
That’s the kind of football everyone can expect from Brazil.
Switzerland, as expected, will challenge Serbia and Costa Rica for the second place and upsetting Brazil in their first game would be a great start.
After getting relegated with Stoke City this season, Xherdan Shaqiri is determined to make an impact and help his country in another World Cup campaign. Playing alongside him, Granit Xhaka, who recently signed a new deal with Arsenal, and Ricardo Rodíguez bring balance to a very technical team.
Switzerland’s greatest asset is the quality of these three players on set pieces. Defending well and closing the gaps between the lines might give them a chance to hinder Brazil’s drive.
The match kicks off at 11:00 am GMT at the Rostov Arena. Brazil are the favourites but Switzerland will be eager to spoil the South Americans’ party.
Brazil: Alisson, Danilo, T. Silva, Miranda, Marcelo, Casemiro, Paulinho, P. Coutinho, Willian, G. Jesus, and Neymar.
Switzerland: Bürki, Lichtsteiner, Schär, Djourou, Rodríguez, Freuler, Xhaka, Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber and Seferovic.
Prediction: Brazil 3-1 Switzerland