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PREVIEW: World Cup – Group G – Brazil v Switzerland

Favourites Brazil started their Qatar 2022 World Cup campaign with a statement of intent, while Switzerland earned a tightly contested victory. Will Neymar be fit and ready for the Selecao’s all-important second clash? Or will the Swiss put an abrupt end to the carnival?

Favourites Brazil started their Qatar 2022 World Cup campaign with a statement of intent, while Switzerland earned a tightly contested victory. Will Neymar be fit and ready for the Selecao’s all-important second clash? Or will the Swiss put an abrupt end to the carnival?

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

To Win Match
Brazil 4/10 | Draw 39/10 | Switzerland 13/2

The five-time world champions got off to a perfect start after two goals from Richarlison sealed the game against Serbia. The first half could’ve wrapped up the tie as Raphinha failed to convert clear-cut opportunities.

The second half picked up where the former ended and what was always coming finally arrived in the form of a rebound tap-in and a truly sensational strike.

Questions on the Brazilian defence loom on occasion and that was answered emphatically in the first round. Serbia was restricted to just five shots, with none on target.

The partnership between Thiago Silva and Marquinhos stands firm, and while the full-backs offer more support than an attacking threat, they found themselves much higher up the pitch more often than not.

Richarlison will steal the headlines and front-page photos, but credit has to go to the entire side, especially the front four, whose defensive work from the spearhead maintained a high level of intensity from the entire eleven. If Brazil keeps the same tempo in the next two, the South Americans will leave Group G with nine points.

Cameroon-born Breel Embolo scored the only goal of the game as Switzerland earned a tightly contested victory. Xherdan Shaqiri found himself in a position to set one on a plate for Embolo, who halted his celebrations when scoring the only goal of the game against Cameroon. Yes, the desert city of Qatar is hot, but the Swiss were sweating from more than just that.

Switzerland found themselves under the cosh in the first 45, with goalkeeper Yan Sommer making a crucial save as early as the 10th minute. Head coach Murat Yakin – who professed to be overseeing the “best Switzerland national team to have ever existed” pre-tournament – will have been relieved to walk away unscathed.

In this encounter, however, you can expect a less free-flowing fixture, with a strictly defensive mindset from holding midfielders Remo Freuler and Granit Xhaka, with a possible back five and the introduction of Newcastle United defender Fabian Schar.

 

Verdict: Brazil & Over 1.5 (6/10)

Switzerland were able to build back into the game against Cameroon after a first half under immense pressure. When it comes to the champions-elect, Brazil, they will not allow such. From the first whistle to the last, they will press on knowing that a win secures qualification, and possibly make wholesale changes for their final matchup.

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