Brazil were held to a draw in their opening Group E game of the 2018 World Cup. Philippe Coutinho opening the scoring in the first half, but Switzerland came back to level the scores early in the second half through Steven Zuber.
Brazil Held Despite Philippe Coutinho Stunner
Brazil dominated the opening exchanges of the game and should have gone ahead after 12 minutes. With the ball bouncing around the six-yard box, former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho got a shot away. However, he scuffed his effort and Yann Sommer was able to tip the ball around the post.
The 2014 semi-finalists did get the opening goal, though. Phillipe Coutinho, once of Liverpool, picked up the ball just outside the area after a Brazilian break down the left-hand side. After taking a touch, he curled in one of his trademark strikes to break the deadlock, with the ball just kissing the post before nestling into the net.
Switzerland were clearly wary of the threat possessed by Neymar. They were constantly on him when he had the ball, and new Arsenal signing Stephan Liechsteiner got a bit too close, going into the referee’s book with Neymar clutching his face on the floor.
What Brazil may have missed from their half-time discussion is that Switzerland haven’t lost an opening World Cup game in their last four tournaments. They did their best to extend this to five and got a reward for their effort early in the second-half.
There were six Brazil defenders in the box to defend a Switzerland corner, and the delivery was put straight on the only Swiss head attacking the ball. Steven Zuber was the lucky recipient of a magnificent delivery and he powered a header past Alisson in Brazil’s goal.
Brazil had plenty of chances to win the game late on. Roberto Firmino went close numerous times, but he volleyed over and saw a header well saved by Sommer.
Not the Desired Start
The result means that Serbia sit at the top of Group E at the close of play following their 1-0 win over Costa Rica earlier in the day. Aleksander Kolarov’s stunning free-kick was all that separated a dull affair there.
A win for Brazil in their next game will send Costa Rica out of the competition. It will be the first competitive meeting between the two sides since a 4-1 Brazil win in the Copa America in 2004.