WC 2018 preview: Brazil vs Switzerland – Rostov Arena – June 17, 2018 – 19:00 hrs BST – Group E clash
Brazil seem to have put their humiliating semi-final 1-7 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup behind them and look serious title contenders for Russia 2018.
Brazil vs Switzerland Predictions
Odds correct as of 15/06/2018.
The Selecao were the first to qualify for the World Cup from the South American zone thumping in as many as 41 goals from their 18 games. Tite, the Brazilian manager who replaced Dunga has managed to galvanize a talented bunch of players into a winning unit who have continued in the same vein after their qualification.
Save a 0-0 draw against England, Brazil have won all the remaining five recent international friendlies in the run-up to Russia beating opposition of the caliber of Germany and Croatia.
The Brazilians are reveling in attack with folks like Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Douglas Costa, and Roberto Firmino leading the charge.
Neymar fitness not an Issue
Neymar's fitness could be under a cloud considering his prolonged absence from the latter half of the French season, but the 26-year old forward showed no signs of it in his team's 3-0 thrashing of Austria in a friendly just last weekend.
Dani Alves’ injury came as a drawback for the Selecao defense, but in Real Madrid's Marcello and PSG's Thiago Silva they have excellent options especially with the former's blistering run down the flanks that make him more of an “attacking defender”.
Brazil have worked their Defense
Alisson of Roma is among the best in the business of goal-keeping and fills a big void Brazil faced in the search of quality custodians through the decades.
The fact that the Selecao have conceded just 2 goals from their previous 10 outings is a testimony to their hugely-improved defense.
Brazil vs Switzerland Road to World Cup
While Brazil have won 7 and drawn 3 from their last 10 games, the Swiss have done equally well statistically winning 7, drawing 2 and losing 1 from same number of previous games.
The only difference has been the quality of opposition that the latter had to contend with. Teams like Andorra, Faroe Islands, Latvia and Hungary are seriously low in the world rankings and it was these that formed some of Switzerland's opposition in their qualification group for the WC 2018.
The Swiss despite this could manage only 18 goals from their 10 qualification games which is just 2 more than Iceland's tally of 16.
The Swiss defense will have center-backs like Borussia Monchengladbach's Nico Elvedi, Turkish club Antalyaspor's Johan Djourou, the very experienced Stephan Lichtsteiner of Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund's Roman Burki between the posts, all of whom may not possess the quality to ward of Neymar & co, but collectively could be resilient enough to frustrate them.
Swiss Goal threat
For the Selecao goal, threats could come from Stoke City's Xherdan Shaqiri, Arsenal's Granit Xhaka and Borussia Monchengladbach striker Josip Drmic. Although Shaqiri and Xhaka had less than satisfactory Premier League seasons, they can be quite deadly with their long-range shooting.
Shaqiri, especially is a specialist outside the box and excellent in set-pieces. The Swiss will make up for whatever creativity they may lack with sheer doggedness and perseverance.
Brazil vs Switzerland Verdict and Summary
This is the Alpine nation's 13th entry into the World Cup and fourth consecutive one since 2006. They made it to the 2nd round in 2010 and 2014 where they truly made Argentina sweat for a narrow 1-0 win before being eliminated.
The five-time champions from Latin America are the bookmakers' favorite to take the game at the Rostov Arena on Sunday evening, but Switzerland may not relent that easily.