MX23RW : Wednesday, July 18 11:03:53
Jun 17, 2018 at 7pm UK at ​Rostov Arena
Attendance: 43,109
Brazil
1-1
SwitzerlandSwitzerland
Coutinho (20')
Casemiro (47')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Zuber (50')
Lichtsteiner (31'), Schar (65'), Behrami (68')

Preview: Brazil vs. Switzerland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of the World Cup Group E match between Brazil and Switzerland.

Brazil, one of the favourites to go all the way in Russia, kick off their World Cup campaign with a match against Switzerland at the Rostov Arena on Sunday.

The Samba Boys are odds-on to top Group E, but they are up against a well-organised Swiss side who head into the finals in stellar form.


Brazil

Brazil manager Tite on June 3, 2018© Reuters

Expectations are high for five-time World Cup winners Brazil, but the South Americans head to this year's tournament with painful memories from 2014 hanging over them.

At the last World Cup, the Samba Boys were humiliated by eventual winners Germany, ending up on the wrong side of a 7-1 drubbing in the semi-finals, and their record at major tournaments since has been poor.

In the 2015 Copa America, they bowed out in the first knockout stage, and in the following year, Brazil failed to make it beyond the group phase.

Needless to say, Tite's men have critics to answer, though they did restore some pride with an impressive qualifying campaign, becoming the first team to reach the 2018 World Cup after hosts Russia when they defeated Paraguay 3-0 in March 2017.

They won 12 of their 18 qualifying games and lost only once, despite facing the likes of Argentina, Uruguay and continental champions Chile along the way.

Finding the net has not been a problem for Brazil, as Tite's side scored more than three goals in 61% of their qualifiers and averaged 2.27 goals per game overall.

Brazil have maintained their strong form since booking their spot in Russia, with their 3-0 demolition of Austria last week extending their unbeaten run to 11 matches, eight of which were victories.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, who has scored 55 goals in 85 matches for his country, is expected to provide the goal threat against the Swiss, but with the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Willian, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho also among Brazil's ranks, he is not the only player the opposition will need to watch.

Recent form: WDWWWW


Switzerland

Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic on November 12, 2017© Reuters

Switzerland is by no means an easy opener for Brazil.

Vladimir Petkovic's side enjoyed a solid qualifying campaign, pushing European champions Portugal all the way in Group B and only missing out on the top spot thanks to a 2-0 defeat to their rivals in the final game.

That was the only match of their 10-game qualifying campaign that they failed to win, and they scored 23 times along the way while conceding only seven.

There was, however, no shortage of controversy when the Swiss faced Northern Ireland in a two-legged playoff as a hugely contentious penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez proved the difference between the two sides.

Since qualifying, Switzerland have won three and drawn one to extend their unbeaten streak to six matches, and they have let in just one goal during that run, in a 1-1 draw with Spain.

Critics claim that the Swiss are overly reliant on Xherdan Shaqiri in the final third, though they have been well organised in other areas of the pitch under Petkovic, who has never conceded more than two goals since taking charge 35 games ago.

Petkovic has taken an experienced squad, who played together at the last two international tournaments, to Russia and their cohesion could be the key to keeping out a Brazil side with a wealth of attacking options at their disposal.

The Swiss are clear underdogs in their group opener and a draw would be considered a massive result for them.

Recent form: WDWWDW


Team News

Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar in action during the World Cup warm-up match against Croatia at Anfield on June 3, 2018© Reuters

Brazil's only key absentee in the run-up to their group opener is first-choice right-back Dani Alves, which paves the way for Manchester City's Danilo to start in that position.

Jesus is likely to spearhead their attack, with Neymar and Willian operating on the flanks in a 4-3-3 formation.

Coutinho, Casemiro and Paulinho will form a midfield triangle, if Brazil's most recent World Cup warm-up match is anything to go by.

Switzerland, meanwhile, are without the services of attacking midfielder Admir Mehmedi, who is expected to be replaced in the starting XI by Steven Zuber.

Petkovic's first XI is expected to be near-identical to his preferred side at Euro 2016, though it is unclear whether Breel Embolo or Haris Seferovic will start up front.

Brazil possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Marquinhos, Miranda, Danilo, Marcelo; Casemiro, Paulinho, Coutinho; Willian, Neymar, Gabriel Jesus

Switzerland possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Schar, Akanji, Lichtsteiner, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Embolo


Head To Head

History offers no hints about which way this fixture might swing, as Brazil and Switzerland have played each other three times and both teams have won one, drawn one and lost one.

Their first meeting was a 2-2 draw at the 1950 World Cup and their most recent encounter was a 1-0 win for the Swiss in 2013, which came via an Alves own goal.

Brazil's only win over Switzerland was a 2-1 friendly triumph in November 2006.


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We say: Brazil 2-0 Switzerland

Defensive-minded Switzerland will not make it easy for Brazil, but even a team as organised as them will struggle to keep out Neymar, Coutinho and Jesus over 90 minutes. As long as the Samba Boys keep Shaqiri quiet at the other end, they will grind out a hard-fought win and maintain a clean sheet.


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Who will win the World Cup Group E match between Brazil and Switzerland?

Brazil
Draw
Switzerland
Brazil
84.1%
Draw
13.0%
Switzerland
2.9%
The Switzerland team line up before their friendly with Japan on June 8, 2018
Read Next:
World Cup preview: Switzerland
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