Who: Brazil vs Switzerland, Group G
Where: Stadium 974
Keep readinglist of 3 items
When: Monday at 7pm (16:00 GMT)
Fifa rankings: Brazil 1, Switzerland 15
Brazil, buoyed by a 2-0 win against Serbia in their opening game, will look to book their place in the last 16 as they face off against a well-drilled Switzerland team.
They will be without their star player Neymar, who picked up an ankle injury during Brazil’s opening fixture and has been ruled out for two games.
Richarlison impressed against Serbia, bagging a second-half brace, which brought his scoring to nine goals in seven appearances for Brazil. His second point, a stunning acrobatic right-footed volley, is arguably the goal of the tournament so far.
Switzerland will certainly be encouraged by Serbia’s first-half defensive display, which kept Brazil at bay and required a moment of individual brilliance to break the deadlock.
Brazil are ranked number one in the world but lacked any real flair and creativity against a lacklustre Serbia, which failed to offer any real moments of excitement.
Switzerland are hardworking and disciplined and have been difficult to beat in recent years. They famously knocked out France at Euro 2020, leaving the world champions fighting among themselves as they exited the tournament.
Here in Qatar, Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0 in a cagey first game. Breel Embolo scored the match’s only goal after a perfect pass across the box from former Liverpool and Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri.
Brazil are favourites for this match, but without the creativity of Neymar, they might struggle against a Swiss team that boasts a sturdy defence and some impressive results in recent months, including wins against Spain and Portugal.
Danilo will also miss the game for Brazil after picking up an injury. The 39-year-old Dani Alves is set to take his spot at right back. Manchester United’s Fred will likely be brought in to provide some defensive cover.
Brazil could make history if they avoid defeat to Switzerland. They are undefeated in their previous 16 World Cup group-stage games, last losing nearly a quarter-century ago in the first round to Norway in 1998. No team has ever gone 17 group-stage matches without a defeat.
The two teams have met at two previous World Cups in 1950 and 2018 with both matches ending in a draw. If either Brazil or Switzerland break that pattern on Monday, they’re guaranteed a spot in the next round.