Group E consists of Costa Rica, Serbia, Switzerland, and Brazil. The five-time World Cup champions are aiming to win the title once again. In the previous edition, Brazil were knocked out by Germany following an embarrassing 7-1 defeat at the hands of the eventual World Cup winners. Now, Tite’s men are all ready to launch another challenge for the title.
Neymar is Stoppable as Brazil Falter Against Switzerland
During the Swiss pre-match conference, captain Stephan Lichtsteiner admitted that his side was aware there was no way of stopping Neymar. The Paris Saint-Germain forward had scored 55 international goals in 85 appearances. In Brazil’s last two games before the World Cup, Neymar had also scored in both of them.
Although Brazil were the favourites to win the tie, Switzerland also had their own bright sparks such as Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri. In the last three encounters between both parties, each had won once and the other ended as a 2-2 draw, back in 1952. The Swiss internationals knew it was going to be a tough match. With Philippe Coutinho, Neymar and Gabriel Jesus all in the starting eleven, there was no room for a defeat for the Brazilians.
As time passed, Die Nati gradually became more comfortable in the game. After the break, the Europeans responded strongly and found the leveller which the team badly needed. Tite started to introduce substitutes by the 65th minutes, hoping that his team would get all three points.
Coutinho Is the Star of Brazil
From open play, the Barcelona man scored out of nowhere. He had scored in similar styles for Liverpool and now he has done it in the World Cup. His shot left Yann Sommer stunned and unable to believe that his opponent had scored such a beautiful goal. Coutinho’s tight midfield play allowed his team to move forward with great pace. He added a sense of urgency to the team and stole the limelight from Neymar, who was constantly picked out by the Swiss midfielders and defenders. Valon Behrami marked Neymar so dutifully that the 26-year-old had few chances to roam around freely.
Switzerland Able to Find Their Way Past Stubborn Brazil
Alisson stood strong in between the goalposts, preventing Xherdan Shaqiri and the rest of the attackers from scoring. In fact, Alisson was rarely troubled. His midfielders controlled the game well and launched waves of attack on their opponents. In the first half, the Swiss had chances to get forward but their attackers often misplaced passes or found themselves surrounded by those in yellow.
Five minutes into the second half, the European nation found themselves level with Brazil. Shaqiri delivered a powerful corner kick into the centre of the box and Steven Zuber equalized. No one marked the midfielder and Zuber raised up high to meet his team-mates’ delivery. From then on, it livened things up and gave the Swiss the confidence to get forward.
Neymar is Stoppable
The Brazilian had some great movement outside the box and gave the defenders plenty of problems. However, the Swiss defenders showed the world how they could keep the 26-year-old quiet for the majority of the match. The captain, in particular, deserved the applause for staying in position and well aware of Neymar’s movements. The backline followed wherever Neymar went and gradually won the battle against him. Even if it meant they had to pull his shirt or get a yellow, the defenders did exactly their job.