World Cup 2018: Brazil 1-1 Switzerland; 3 key battles that decided the game
In what has been the day of the underdogs, yet another former champion was dealt a blow as Brazil could only manage a draw against Switzerland in their Group E fixture. While Tite can be proud of the repeated attacking tendencies his side showed, their effectiveness needs to be honed if Brazil are to become the favorites they are.
A trademark Coutinho goal from outside the box was enough to build up the hopes and dreams of the yearning Brazilian faithful, but some compact defending and a free header from Zuber brought all of it crashing to the ground, as the Swiss showed just how good they are.
As always, there were a few individual battles that went a long way in deciding the final outcome of the game. Here's a look at 3 of them:
#1 Neymar vs Valon Behrami
Very few players in the world can be proud of the fact that they shut down Neymar for an entire game, and it is time Behrami's name got up on that list. Every time Neymar got the ball, Behrami was there giving him the stink eye, his dirty blonde hair flowing Neymar's hair of the same color spectrum.
To be fair, it was not just Behrami who was responsible for keeping Neymar under wraps but the whole Swiss team. They were not afraid to tug at his shirt or trip him, and when he tried to get away from one man, two more were there ahead of him.
Behrami did get a yellow card - poetically, for a foul on Neymar, but was promptly taken away in the place of Zakaria, who immediately went back to playing the same role. To his credit, Neymar did try his best to break off the shackles, but it is not easy when you have 10 men chopping at you incessantly.
5 dribbles and 11 fouls later, Neymar was still standing but Brazil was not. Neymar was supposed to be their savior, and in his absence, the rest of the cast presented a dull picture too. Maybe this is the tactic the other teams will be considering as well.