Disappointing Brazil held to 1-1 draw by Switzerland in WC opener

Oli Fisher

A second-half header was enough for Switzerland to earn a deserved point against a lacklustre Brazil in their World Cup Group E opener.

Philippe Coutinho gave the South American side – tipped by many to win the tournament in Russia – a first half lead with a sensational curling effort.

However, a spirited Swiss outfit hit back, with Hoffenheim’s Steven Zuber powering home a header to equalise just after the break.

Yann Sommer made a couple of good late saves to hold the score level for Vladimir Petkovic’s side, and Inter defender Joao Miranda missed a chance in added time.

Tite named a front four of Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Neymar and Gabriel Jesus, with Roberto Firmino among the substitutes waiting in the wings.

Switzerland counterpart Vladimir Petkovic set his side up with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami sitting in front of his back four and Xherdan Shaqiri operating from the right side of a three behind lone striker Haris Seferovic.

It took Philippe Coutinho just 20 minutes to announce his arrival at the finals in style when he smashed Brazil into the lead.

Collecting a clearance 22 yards out, he took a touch before curling a superb shot beyond goalkeeper Yann Sommer to give his side a 1-0 advantage at the break.

Switzerland got themselves back on level terms within five minutes of the restart.

Midfielder Steven Zuber thumped home a header from Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner with the Brazilians calling for a free-kick for a push on Miranda.

Brazil pushed hard for a winner in the closing stages but ultimately settled for a point in a 1-1 draw.

Roberto Firmino had a tremendous opportunity to win it in the last minute after being left unmarked in the area, but the Liverpool forward’s header was palmed away by Switzerland keeper Yann Sommer.

Miranda shot narrowly wide in time added-on as Switzerland hung on.