2018 FIFA World Cup

2018 FIFA WC: Brazil vs Switzerland all you need to know about these two teams

XtraTime Web Desk: Five times World Champions Brazil will lock their horns against Switzerland in their first match of 2018 FIFA World Cup. It’s a huge turn around after losing 7-1 against Germany in the Semifinal of 2014 FIFA World Cup. Coach Tite has made them into one of the favourites to win the tournament.

Not much has changed from the squad that contested Euro 2016 but there seems to be a bit more togetherness about them these days.

Brazil:

Strengths

The attack is formidable with Neymar back after injury and backed up by players such as Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Gabriel Jesus and, of course, the left-back Marcelo.








Weaknesses

Dani Alves's injury is a huge blow, partly because of his influence in the dressing room but also because he is better than his likely replacement, Danilo.

Goalkeeper

Alison: Brazil’s No1 has solid backing in Russia - coaching from childhood hero Claudio Taffarel, the veteran of three World Cups, now part of Tite’s backroom staff. He played 27 matches for Brazil.

Defensive mainstay

Thiago Silva: Dubbed "The Monster" back in 2007 by Fluminense fans, he’s a big but fragile personality, who burst into tears before the last-16 penalty shootout against Chile four years ago. He scored 5 in his 71 appearances for his National team.

Creative Force

Philippe Coutinho: He will be the key player in the midfield for Brazil. Coutinho will provide the ball to the strikers up front. He played 36 games and scored 10 goals so far.

Young talent




Gabriel Jesus: It’s a photo that always gets retweeted when he scores for Brazil: a 2014 shot of a young Gabriel Jesus painting the curbs of streets in a poor Sao Paulo neighborhood as the nation prepared to host the World Cup. He can surprise all with his goal-scoring abilities. This Manchester City forward scored 10 goals in 17 matches for Brazil.

Main goalscorer

Neymar:  If he keeps to his current scoring rate, Neymar should pass Pele’s 77-goal Brazil record within two years. In short, he carries the nation’s hopes, which is why his injury in February, a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, dominated the news channels. In his 85 matches, he got 55 goals.

 Strengths





The coach, Vladimir Petkovic, says the team has grown together and keeps working hard for each other.

Weaknesses

Goals can sometimes be hard to come by and Haris Seferovic, who is likely to start up front, has not had the best of seasons at Benfica.

Goalkeeper

Yann Sommer: The Swiss No1 is a mother-in-law’s dream: good looking, always polite and always smiling. He does adverts for a facial cream and he runs his own food blog. And he plays the guitar. Of course, he does. Luckily for the Swiss national team, he’s also a very good keeper. He started playing in goal aged five. He played 35 matches for the National team.

 

Veteran

Stephan Lichtsteiner: A veteran who has played for Switzerland since 2005 and scored 8 goals in 100 matches. Lichtsteiner has had health problems himself. In 2015, he had minor heart surgery after suffering breathing problems in a game against Frosinone. He'll be an Arsenal player next season after his Juventus contract expired.

Young talent

Breel Embolo: The most expensive Swiss footballer of all time, Schalke having paid €22.5m for the Basel winger in 2016. Embolo suffered a horrific injury in mid-October of that year, fracturing his ankle and fibula as well as sustaining substantial ligament damage, which put him out of action for 336 days. Despite this, he never lost his sense of humour as he worked to return, and forgave the player who caused the injury, Augsburg’s Konstantinos Stafylidis when Switzerland played Greece in a friendly in March. He played 25 games and scored 3 goals so far.

 Star player





Xherdan Shaqiri: “Cube of Power”, “Magic Dwarf”, “Alpine Messi” - Shaqiri has many nicknames. The winger started to make headlines at the 2009 Fifa Youth Cup aged 18 when he scored the decisive goal in the final as a substitute. After that, things moved fast. FC Basel, Bayern Munich, and Inter. But he has always been hampered by muscular problems and didn’t properly settle until he arrived at Stoke in 2015. He’s likely to leave this summer following their relegation, with Everton, West Ham, and Palace among those linked. XS remains the absolute darling of the Swiss fans and devotes more time than anyone else to signing autographs and posing for selfies.

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