Brazil World Cup Draw 2018: Fixtures, Matchups and Players to Watch in Russia

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2017

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 10: Philippe Coutinho #11, Neymar #10 and Gabriel Jesus #9 of Brazil celebrates a scored goal against Argentina during a match between Brazil and Argentina as part 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier at Mineirao stadium on November 10, 2016 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

Brazil were drawn against Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after the draw was made in Moscow on Friday, per the tournament's official website.

A game against the Swiss is how the South American nation will being its campaign on Sunday, June 17 in Rostov.

The five-time winners were beaten in the semi-final at the last tournament, losing 7-1 to eventual winners Germany on home soil in 2014. However, the Selecao stormed through qualifying, finishing first and 10 points ahead of Uruguay under the watch of manager Tite, who has the players, particularly in attacking areas, to go even further this time.

                

Brazil's World Cup Fixtures

Brazil vs. Switzerland, Sunday, June 17, Rostov Arena

Brazil vs. Costa Rica, Friday, June 22, Saint Petersburg Stadium

Serbia vs. Brazil, Wednesday, June 27, Spartak Stadium, Moscow

         

Dates per Duncan Wright of The Sun.

                

Neymar

It all starts with Neymar for Brazil. The Paris Saint-Germain forward often saves his best for the international stage—a positive sign for Tite since he has been in prolific form at club level this season.

The dynamic forward has scored 15 times in all competitions since moving to the French capital in the summer.

Neymar will lead what is a versatile and fluid forward line, with Chelsea's Willian also expected to feature. There are plenty of other options for Tite to choose from, including Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, who has regularly partnered Neymar in attack.

                

Philippe Coutinho

Neymar and his fellow forwards are talented on the ball, but like any strikers, they still thrive on service. So the onus will be on Philippe Coutinho to get the supply right this June.

Fortunately, Coutinho hasn't let months of transfer speculation linking him with a move to La Liga giants Barcelona stunt his form. Instead, the gifted No. 10 has remains the creative fulcrum of Liverpool, and he has not lost his knack for playing a defence-splitting pass or for scoring spectacular goals from distance.

It will be vital for Coutinho to seize the moment and make this tournament a platform to announce himself as a truly world-class player. If he does, it may mean a move from Anfield to the Camp Nou finally happens next summer.

Yet it will also likely mean Brazil go far in this World Cup thanks to the influence of one of the most intelligent and skilled attacking midfielders in the competition.

              

Casemiro

Players such as Neymar and Coutinho will guarantee this Brazil side stays faithful to the nation's attacking roots. However, balance will also be crucial for Tite's man, making the manager grateful for the presence of Casemiro.

The Real Madrid anchorman is arguably the best outright holding midfielder in the game. He combines brawn and tenacity with a keen positional sense and excellent timing. This blend of attributes makes Casemiro a consistently disruptive ball-winner.

Brazil will count on the 25-year-old UEFA Champions League winner to provide security in front of the defence and also give Coutinho and Co. the freedom to fully express themselves in the final third.

This Brazil squad is loaded and has a decent mix of solidity and style. If Coutinho finds spaces between the lines consistently, while Casemiro keeps the door closed at the back, a sixth World Cup trophy will be firmly in the Selecao's grasp.

Related

    River Rocket Seals Copa Final Win 🚀

    World Football logo
    World Football

    River Rocket Seals Copa Final Win 🚀

    Streamable
    via Streamable

    River Beat Boca in Incredible Copa Final

    World Football logo
    World Football

    River Beat Boca in Incredible Copa Final

    Gianni Verschueren
    via Bleacher Report

    Boca Drew First Blood with an Epic Copa Final Opener

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Boca Drew First Blood with an Epic Copa Final Opener

    Streamable
    via Streamable

    Dembele Two Hours Late to Barca Training AGAIN

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Dembele Two Hours Late to Barca Training AGAIN

    Gianni Verschueren
    via Bleacher Report