The Swiss recovered from a one goal lead to force a draw against the odds on favorite to win this years World Cup, Brazil. The two teams opened with proceedings for group E and entertained fans at the Rostov Arena to a hardfought 1-1 draw leaving Brazil wondering where they all got it wrong.
The Selecao came in as the favorites to top group E and proceed to challenge for the title after their previous run for the World Cup ended in heartbreaking fashion. Signs that they were still reeling from their bitter loss were negligible as they came flying of the gates to possibly grasp an early lead had midfielder Paulinho not fluffed his lines and carelled his close-range hot wide of the far post. The opener came shortly after as Philippe Coutinho sought to challenge. Nacho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kolarov for goal of the tournament. In trademark fashion Coutinho created space for himself by cutting inside before curling in an astonishing effort from 20 yards out to give his side the lead. This was the result of an excellent spell of build-up play by his teammates. In his 37th International for Brazil Coutinho scored his 11th and his first in a World Cup.
The Swiss did not let the concesion of a Coutinho screamer get the best of them as they drew things level shortly after play resumed in the second half. Steven Zuber rose above everyone in the box to smash in a header off a corner. Brazil were determined to fight back and created an abundance of chances to take the lead and all 3 points. Neymar and substitute 'Bobby' Firmino both headed efforts wide in the waning moments of the second half as Switzerland held off to a one-all draw.
Neymar and Brazil will be disgruntled by their start to this World Cup campaign. What was supposed to be an exhibition of their world class skill and talent was in reality lackluster performance by the Selecao. Switzerland led by Captain Stephan Lichtsteiner will be pleased by their efforts as they progress through Group E while Tite will need to rethink his tactics and even make changes to his XI for their game against Costa Rica. The team lacked balance and for long stretches of the game they held possession of the ball and showed no sense of urgency to score. On the bright side, Brazil had a solid defensive performance in open play though Switzerland capitalized on their opponents weakness to defend set pieces.
Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho. Not much can be said about his Herculean effort. His ability to strike the ball from long distances with precision has long been in part of his repertoire. Like Arjen Robben, we all know both players are going to cut inside to or around the box, and there is no stopping their deadly strikes.