Philipe Coutinho was one of Brazil’s many attacking talents who looked to have set them on their way to a comfortable opening win in the World Cup. His trademark curling effort kissed the post on its way into the net to give them an early lead. However, their Swiss opponents began to grow into the game. After half-time things got even better as Steven Zuber headed the underdogs level and they eventually held on for an unlikely point. Read the full match report here.
Brazil’s Big Guns Will Not Guarantee Points
At a World Cup, there is no such thing as an easy game. In 2018, we have a common theme. We have numerous teams crammed full of World-Class players but we also have so-called lesser sides putting up a fight. On the third day, we saw the might of the French national side scrape past Australia. We even saw Iceland, with the smallest population in the completion, hold Lionel Messi & Co. to a 1-1 draw.
Tonight, we saw the same with a talented Brazil side against a fairly average but solid Switzerland team. Brazil, with all their pedigree and the quality with the likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho and Willian all crammed into the size won’t just win games on their own.
Cohesion is Key
The most important trait of all these brilliant footballing nations must be cohesion. Cramming a team full of individual superstars is pointless if there is no cohesion. Players who play well together as part of a team will win this World Cup, not just a bunch of good players lining up on a team sheet.
In the first 20 minutes, it was clear that Brazil were coming together and combining as a team. Neymar was always floating around off the left side and giving the space for Marcelo to rampage up and down the flank. The anchor of Casemiro was essential in allowing Coutinho the freedom to push right up and hurt the Swiss backline. This, ultimately lead to the opening goal.
Brazilian Strength Down the Left
As mentioned, the free role of Neymar gave space for Real Madrid’s Marcelo to push right up, almost like a left winger. The insurance behind him of Miranda and Thiago Silva in defence allowed him the license to move up. With a real lack of enthusiasm to defend from winger Xherdan Shaiqri, the constant pressure of Marcelo, Neymar, Coutinho combining and Gabriel Jesus’ runs into that channel on the left looked to have set new Arsenal recruit Stephan Lichtsteiner up for a long evening.
Swiss Stuck to Their Task
The team spirit and willingness came through from the Swiss players who rode the early storm together as one. The aforementioned Lichtsteiner used all his experience to cope with the threat of the Brazilian wide men. Former West Ham man Valon Behrami took on Neymar with a man-marking style and slowly eased the world’s most expensive player out of the game.
Despite a distinct lack of attacking quality from Vladimir Petkovic’s side, they were rewarded for their brave passing and strong defending with a Steven Zuber goal from a corner. Their attacking play certainly didn’t set the world alight with striker Haris Seferovic looking slow and none of Blerim Dzemaili’s teammates able to find him in the pockets of space in front of the Brazil rearguard. But having a solid side got them their point and a hugely impressive one at that.
Brazil will no doubt go on in the completion to bigger things but a successful player and can only win with a good team around him and Brazil must utilise their great team they have to progress into the later stages.