Big Match Breakdown: Brazil v Switzerland
Neymar and co begin their World Cup
They’re one of the favourites to win the World Cup this summer, but can Brazil get over that humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat by Germany four years ago?
Brazil have had plenty of time to learn from that humbling night in Rio de Janeiro, and now we’ll see what they’re made of.
The five-time champions begin their quest against Switzerland in Group E, and the Coral News Team have all the key info in today’s big match breakdown…
Head to Head
Brazil and Switzerland have met three times previously – including a 2-2 draw in the 1950 World Cup.
The second clash was a 2-1 win for Selecao in a 2006 friendly, before the Swiss made amends in a 1-0 friendly win in 2014.
Brazil cruised through the often-difficult CONMEBOL qualifying phase, while Switzerland edged past Northern Ireland in the play-offs.
In terms of form, Brazil have lost just two of their last 30 games. They’ve conceded only seven goals in 23 games too.
As for their European opponents, they’ve been beaten once in their last 25 matches. Switzerland have been tight at the back too, conceding only six goals in their last 15 games.
The headline news is that Neymar is likely to start. The Paris Saint-Germain ace missed the final few months of the season through injury, but he started Brazil’s final pre-tournament friendly.
That was a 3-0 win against Austria, and Brazil boss Tite may choose to again play Neymar on the left of a front three, with Gabriel Jesus in the middle and Willian on the right.
Midfield quality will come from Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho and Casemiro. Manchester City’s F ernandinho is an option too.
Thiago Silva is Brazil’s defensive lynchpin, with Liverpool target Alisson poised to get the nod over Man City’s Ederson in goal.
As for Switzerland, Haris Seferovic should be given the nod up front, although Josip Drmic is an option.
But it’s Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri who is their key asset. The 26-year-old has World Cup pedigree – he scored a hat-trick in 2014 – and is likely to be his side’s main source of creativity in an attacking trio behind the striker.
Granit Xhaka appears to have shaken off injury, and if deemed fit enough, is a likely starter in the holding role alongside Valon Behrami.
Both teams are in excellent form, but can Switzerland really manage to contain Neymar, Willian, Jesus, Roberto Firmino and Coutinho?
It’s a big, big ask. They’ll need to watch out for Marcelo down the left flank too.
Switzerland will need Xhaka to pick out passes with pin-point accuracy, and Shaqiri needs to be at his creative best. Without that, they’ll struggle.
If Brazil get on top and flood the Swiss defence, this could turn very one-sided.
For Switzerland, Drmic is 9/1 to put them 1-0 up, with Mario Gavranovic and Seferovic 10/1, and Shaqiri 11/1. Arsenal fans might have one eye on Xhaka and his occasionally successful eft-peg. The midfielder is 40/1 to score first and 12/1 anytime.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing