Switzerland held Brazil to a 1-1 draw on Sunday in their FIFA World Cup group E preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don, Russia. Coutinho gave Brazil the lead with a stunning strike while Zuber equalised with a close-range header.
The Swiss started fully focused, but as Brazil put more and more pressure on them, they had a lapse of concentration for just a moment giving Coutinho space for a terrific shot in the 20th minute. The Barcelona player beat goalkeeper Yann Sommer with a well-placed shot that curled over the ’keeper and bounced in of the right post as the well-organized Swiss struggled to contain the Brazilian attack led by Neymar and Gabriel Jesus.
The Barcelona player’s presence on the left also put a lot of pressure on Switzerland. With Marcelo and Neymar joining him, allowing for quick passing triangles, this flank could be a nightmare for any opponent at this tournament.
Coach Vladimir Petkovic’s experienced Swiss side remained composed after conceding the goal, dominating in midfield for long spells and with Ricardo Rodriguez and Xheridan Shaqiri testing the Brazilian defense on the two wings.
Steven Zuber equalized for Switzerland after a close-range header of a corner from Xherdan Shaqiri in the 50th minute. If there is a clear weakness in this Brazilian team, it is their lack of height. Even their defenders are height challenged. Still, credit to Zuber, who was able to free himself. Zuber only forced his way into the team with a two-goal, two-assist showing in a recent 5-2 win over Hungary, but has fully justified his place.
That’s the 11th goal Brazil have conceded in their last three World Cup matches – as many as they had lost in their previous 18. It’s a record that likely won’t improve with the kind of sloppy marking that allowed Steven Zuber to sneak in unmarked for that simple headed finish.
Brazil fought for the victory to the end but struggled to connect against a pretty strong defensive side that covered eight kilometres more than the South Americans in this match.
Costa Rica and Serbia played the first match of Sunday’s slate. Germany and Mexico face off in the second contest, while Brazil and Switzerland play in the day’s finale.
Serbia battles Switzerland in another Group E clash at 2 p.m. Friday in Kaliningrad, Russia. Costa Rica faces Brazil at 8 a.m. Friday in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.