Moscow: Brazil continued the trend of tournament favorites under-performing as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland in their FIFA World Cup 2018 Group E opener in Rostov on Sunday.
Having bowed out of their home tournament four years ago with a 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany, Brazil initially started their mission to put that humiliation behind them in stunning fashion when Philippe Coutinho struck a sublime goal to open the scoring.
Despite dictating the pace of the game, Brazil were never completely dominant and had Switzerland’s rather toothless attack to thank for not taking advantage of the possession and space the underdogs were afforded.
The five-time winners failed to extend their lead and were punished early in the second half when Steven Zuber lost his marker at a corner and equalized – a goal that might have opened the game up had Brazil been at their best.
But Tite’s side remained somewhat subdued by their own high standards, with Neymar a shadow of his usual talismanic self having only recently recovered from a fractured foot, and their remaining group games with Costa Rica and Serbia now come with more pressure than would have previously been anticipated.
Switzerland can reflect on an excellent start to their campaign, having claimed a point from the most difficult of their group matches improvement chances of reaching the knockout stages for the second consecutive tournament.