After Argentina( Drew 1-1 against Iceland) and Germany (Germany lost 1-0 to Mexico) failed to take 3 Points from their opening game, Brazil followed suit and put in a largely underwhelming performance against an organized Switzerland that led to a 1-1 draw in Rostov-on-Don. Brazil showed their intent and desire early on and the Five-time World Champions were rewarded as Philippe Coutinho did, what Philippe Coutinho does best a curler from long range that deservedly found the back of the net after deflecting off the post.
Tite’s utilisation of Coutinho was perfect, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde should take some notes, he didn’t play him on the wing but played him right behind Gabriel Jesus and next to Neymar and Marcelo on the Left flank, which gives him the freedom to take a shot from his favourite position or pass to his free-flowing teammates on the left.
At Half-Time Brazil were 1-0 up. Five minutes from resumption and Vladimir Petković’s Switzerland have equalized! Midfielder Steven Zuber comfortably headed Xherdan Shaqiri’s delightful Corner as Casemero and Miranda seemed to forget what ‘Man Marking’ meant. The Swiss had held back in the First Half, they were very well organized defensively and made sure they kept the deficit to 1-0. In the Second Half, the Swiss moved the ball into attacking positions and deservedly equalized.
Switzerland’s Defensive Superiority
Switzerland is ranked 6th in the FIFA World Rankings and are serious Dark horses going into the tournament. Full-Backs, Stephan Lichsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez showed their class and were excellent offensively and defensively. Switzerland’s approach to sitting back and pick their moments bore fruit, playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri, Midfielder Steven Zuber and Valon Behrami were excellent going forward. The Swiss are now on a 7-game unbeaten streak including a 1-1 Draw against Spain, we know they can defend, we know they can attack and Petkovic’s side knows how to keep a good shape. Expect big thing from this Switzerland side.
Over Confident Brazil
Brazil was considered favorites to win the World Cup by bookies and Pundits alike and the atmosphere in Rostov-On-Don suggested that the Selecao would stroll past their opponents. Surprise Surprise, We were all wrong, Brazil were given a reality check and Coach Tite will be happy that his team got it early. There was a whiff of overconfidence in Brazil’s game after scoring so early in the game, Neymar lacked his usual panache and swagger, Gabriel Jesus was honestly below average and Casemero lacked his usual punch as well. Roberto Firmino was very good in the Little time he had and Coutinho was a threat the whole game and even came close to giving his team the lead in the dying moments of the game.
What’s next for Brazil?
Brazil take on 2014 Quarter-Finalists Costa Rica on Friday, Tite’s Men will have to quickly regroup and lift themselves, especially Neymar. I personally feel Roberto Firmino has made a solid case to start against Costa Rica after Gabriel Jesus’s lackluster performance.