After qualifying first from the always-difficult South American qualifying competition, five-time FIFA World Cup™ winners Brazil will now have designs on topping Group E at Russia 2018. To do so, however, they will need to get the better of Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica, one of the sensations of Brazil 2014.
Brazil-Switzerland (17 June 2018, Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don)
This meeting will be crucial to both sides' hopes of winning the section and, if history is anything to go by, avoiding reigning world champions Germany in the last 16. It promises to be an attractive encounter too, as Brazil pitch their enterprising, attack-minded brand of football against a Switzerland side that might lack the same offensive firepower but nevertheless boasts plenty of pace and a fondness for possession.
What you need to know
- Though the Swiss had to take the play-off route to reach Russia, they amassed an impressive 27 points in Group B of the European qualifiers and only missed out on top spot to Portugal after losing 2-0 in Lisbon in their final match.
- The arrival of Tite as coach in June 2016 saw A Seleção rediscover their devastating form of old. By Matchday 8 Brazil had already jumped from fifth to second. Two games later they were on top of the group, where they stayed till the end.
- Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia (competing as the former Yugoslavia) were all drawn in the same first-round group at Brazil 1950.
1 - After Russia, who qualified automatically as tournament hosts, Brazil were the first side to seal their place at Russia 2018, courtesy of their 3-0 defeat of Paraguay on 28 March 2017.
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