Pre-tournament winners Brazil face World Cup Group G Switzerland at the 974 Stadium on Monday. After a stunning win in the first game, Brazil kept their hopes of reaching the finals alive. Serbia, Brazil's first opponents, wanted to be one of the dark horses in the competition, but their dominance of the Selecao was very mediocre. 2-0 up in the Balkans thanks to Richarlison's second-half brace, Tite's side took a commanding lead from start to finish until the final whistle.
After speculation in the Brazilian and British media that Richarlison would have a mixed start for Tottenham, the striker hit back at the criticism and produced a £60million display to lead Tottenham to victory over Everton. The second fantastic goal lit up the Lusail Stadium, where he and Brazil will be hoping to return to the final three weeks later and, based on their performance on Thursday, they have a good chance.
The victory is the eighth in a row for a five-time World Cup winner and they are on an unbeaten run since losing in the Copa America final in 2021. In those 8 wins, they have scored 28 goals, while Serbia have only scored 2 but should have scored more. Serbia were lucky, Brazil missed many chances and Vanja Milinkovic-Savic kept up his goalscoring form with 24 shots to calm Europe. The Swiss were much more effective in their opening match win against Cameroon and although they couldn't ignite the match, they got the job done.
The biggest news from Brazil's training camp after the match against Serbia was that Neymar suffered an ankle injury late in the game and missed the rest of the group stage. With Paris Saint-Germain taking over a vacant role in the national team, Tite can make tactical adjustments to allow a midfielder like Fred to step in when he leaves. Right-back Danilo also missed the rest of the group stage with a similar injury, allowing Alves to play at the World Cup for the first time since 2014. Real Madrid's Eder Militao starts at right-back.
The change in Switzerland's squad left no room for Fabian Čar to start as the third centre-back, with the preferred duo of Niko Elvedi and Manuel Akanzi against Newcastle United. Denis Zakaria had a tough year at Juventus and Chelsea, so he didn't even make the bench. Overall, there weren't any major surprises in Yakin's roster and I don't think he'll make much of a difference in this matchup.
Probable starting line-up for Brazil:
Allison; Eder Militao, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Fred, Paqueta; Rafinha, Richarlisson, Vinicius Jr.
Switzerland's expected starting line-up:
Summer; wider; Akanji, Elbedi, Rodriguez; Praler, Zaka, Sou; Shakiri, Embolo, Vargas
Switzerland can beat Serbia by being practical and playing defensively against all of Brazil's talented forwards. Most of these Swiss teams played between the two countries in Russia 2018, but this time Brazil look much stronger and will come out on top.
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