Neymar, Brazil Draw 1-1 vs. Switzerland in 2018 World Cup Opener

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJune 17, 2018

ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA - JUNE 17:  Neymar of Brazil reacts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at Rostov Arena on June 17, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Brazil and Switzerland played out a 1-1 draw in their Group E game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Sunday.

A brilliant Philippe Coutinho strike from range handed Brazil the lead after 20 minutes, but Steven Zuber took advantage of some slack defending to head an equaliser in the second half.

The result left Serbia atop the group, as they beat Costa Rica 1-0 earlier in the day.

   

Brazil Show World Cup Is Wide Open

Brazil began the tournament as one of the early favourites, but their failure to beat Switzerland will dampen some of the hype.

Tite's team began strongly and, after going ahead through Coutinho's fine strike, looked set for victory. However, they seemed to ease off and could not find a winner after Switzerland equalised.

It was the same story as defending champions Germany, who were stunned 1-0 by Mexico in their opening game and now have work to do to make it through the group stage.

Spain are also yet to win after being drawn 3-3 by Portugal, while Lionel Messi's Argentina could not find a way past Iceland and drew 1-1.

BBC journalist Francis Keogh offered his view:

The competition looks wide-open with only one of the big-hitters—France—having managed a win. There have been plenty of surprises already, and no team has staked a claim to be crowned world champions.

   

Coutinho Can Light Up World Cup

The bright spot of Brazil's performance was Coutinho's trademark strike.

The Barcelona star received the ball near the corner of the box, cut inside and then curled the ball into the top corner.

Sports journalist Richard Martin was not surprised by his effort:

The midfielder is in a rich vein of goalscoring form for his country, as shown by Squawka Football:

Coutinho's ability to score from range adds another attacking dimension to Tite's team, particularly when Brazil are finding it difficult to break down defensively organized teams.

    

Unadventurous Switzerland Lack Ideas in Attack

Switzerland will be more than happy to take a point off Brazil, but they lacked ideas in attack, and it was no surprise their only goal came from a set piece.

Brazil were caught sleeping as Xherdan Shaqiri fired in a corner and Zuber sent a thumping header past goalkeeper Alisson.

Opta highlighted Brazil's defensive record:

Other than that, Switzerland had few sights of goal, and although they provided plenty of bite in midfield and defended diligently, they lacked ideas up front.

Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe offered his view of the game:

Brazil had chances to win it late on, but goalkeeper Yann Sommer saved headers by Neymar and substitute Roberto Firmino, and Miranda fired a great chance wide.

Switzerland did just enough to secure a point but will need to do more if they are to beat Serbia and Costa Rica in their other group games.

   

What's Next

The teams return to action on Friday. Tite's side face Costa Rica at the Saint Petersburg Stadium, while Switzerland take on Serbia in Kaliningrad.

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