Brazil were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland despite an electrifying first half display which included a magnificent Philip Coutinho curler.
The Samba boys were disgraced 7-1 by World Champions, Germany, in the 2014 mundial they hosted, and coach Tite had been saddled with the enormous task of bringing back the samba style to the Selecao’s game.
Coutinho broke the deadlock twenty minutes into the encounter with a trademark goal, curling from the edge of the area after a half-cleared Marcelo cross dropped at his feet in acres of space.
Brazil, with the attacking quartet of Willian, Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and talisman, Neymar, were dominating the Swiss, and the Europeans resorted to roughing them up, especially Neymar who recently just returned from a broken toe to lead his country in Russia.
Switzerland settled in the last 10 minutes of the half, putting Brazil under pressure at the back without creating a chance, but Brazil almost doubled their lead just before halftime, Thiago Silva finding the top of the net with a near post header from Neymar’s corner.
The Swiss picked up where they left and equalized five minutes after the restart through Steven Zubar. Winger, Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner kick was nodded in from three yards out by the Hoffenheim midfielder who, replays showed, seemed to push Miranda before planting his header beyond Alisson Becker.
Brazil responded with Coutinho’s double effort blocked, Neymar’s follow up deflected out for a corner, while Willian blasted high and wide minutes later.
Neymar, the world’s most expensive player at £200 million, was being hacked down by the legion of Switzerland defenders, but he got more involved and put Coutinho through, the Barcelona attacker volleyed wide from inside the area, while Gabriel Jesus’ attempt to con the referee into awarding a penalty failed. Roberto Firmino replaced the Manchester City forward and he was presented with a shooting opportunity from Akanji’s mistake, but he blasted high into the crowd.
Switzerland continued to hold Brazil at arms length while also posing some threat of theirs, but Brazil had chances to to steal the win through Neymar, Silva and Miranda efforts, but the Switzerland defence held firm to earn a reputable draw.
Photo credit: FIFA