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Brazil vs. Switzerland: Team News, Live Stream, TV Info for World Cup 2018

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2018

Brazil's Neymar kicks the ball during a friendly soccer match between Austria and Brazil at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, June 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Ronald Zak/Associated Press

Brazil will begin their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign when they face Switzerland in their Group E opener at the Rostov Arena in Russia on Sunday.

The Selecao are aiming for a sixth trophy, and few teams at the tournament can match Brazil's flair and efficiency up front, with Neymar, Roberto Firmino and Willian among their attacking stars.

Switzerland could be the unfortunate victims, even though coach Vladimir Petkovic's squad is packed with experience. Arsenal man Granit Xhaka will underpin midfield, while Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri can pose a threat to any defence when on form.

           

Date: Sunday, June 17

Time: 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET

TV Info: ITV 1, Fox Sports 1

Live Stream: ITV HubFox Soccer MatchPass

                

Stopping Brazil scoring is going to be tough for an ageing Swiss defence long on savvy but short on pace. Stephan Lichtsteiner is 34, while Johan Djourou is 31.

The pair are unlikely to be able to track Willian and Douglas Costa out wide, while Neymar and Gabriel Jesus will be too subtle in the box. Quality supply will come from Philippe Coutinho, Renato Augusto, Fred and Fernandinho.

Willian's skill is an asset for Brazil.
Willian's skill is an asset for Brazil.Dave Thompson/Associated Press

Aside from any defensive issues, Petkovic's men are likely to also struggle to muster a scoring threat of their own. Not one of Bundesliga pair Josip Drmic and Breel Embolo could be called prolific after combining for just seven league goals last season.

It means Petkovic will be relying on Shaqiri for some magic. It's a risky proposition since the 26-year-old is a mercurial talent—outrageously gifted at his best but maddeningly inconsistent.

A battle-tested Brazil defence led by Real Madrid left-back Marcelo and Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Thiago Silva should have little trouble containing Shaqiri and Co.

The onus will be on Shaqiri to inspire Switzerland going forward.
The onus will be on Shaqiri to inspire Switzerland going forward.TF-Images/Getty Images

Expect the Selecao to win emphatically and lay down an early marker about their credentials to win this trophy for the first time since 2002.

Prediction: Brazil 4-0 Switzerland