World Cup 2018: Brazil held by Switzerland | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 17.06.2018
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World Cup 2018: Brazil held by Switzerland

Five-time world champions Brazil share the spoils with Switzerland as Steven Zuber's header cancels out Philippe Coutinho's first-half wonder strike. Serbia top of Group E after beating Costa Rica.

Brazil 1-1 Switzerland (Coutinho 20', Zuber 50')

A moment of individual brilliance from Philippe Coutinho wasn't enough for Brazil to get their World Cup 2018 campaign off to a winning start as the five-time world champions were held by a stubborn Switzerland side.

With both sides boasting ambitions of progressing from Group E, there was little to split the two in the opening exchanges. Switzerland had done well to keep Brazil at arm's length, but were undone by a stunning solo effort as Coutinho picked up the ball 20 yards from goal before curling an effort in off the far post.

To their credit, Switzerland responded well to falling behind and kept things tight at the back before the break even if they did struggle to impose themselves in the final third. That all changed five minutes after the restart though, when Hoffenheim's Steven Zuber broke free to head home unmarked from a corner.

The equalizer changed the complexion of the game as Brazil began turning the screw with more intent as they sought to pick up a win in their Group E opener. However, after Coutinho flashed an effort wide, it was Yann Sommer who provided the heroics, denying Neymar and Thiago Silva with standout saves to ensure the spoils were shared in rostov.

FULL TIME! All eyes were on Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar coming into this tournament. Ronaldo takes round one!

FULL TIME! Time is up! Neither side are able to produce a winner. Switzerland will be the far happier with a point from their opening fixture. With Serbia and Costa Rica to come, both sides will fancy their chances of progressing if they can build on tonight's performance.

90+5' - Ronaldo pulled it off. Lionel Messi didn't and Neymar doesn't try. Brazil get a free-kick 30 yards from goal and Neymar floats the ball into the box as opposed to going for goal himself. 

90+1' - Five minutes have been added on as Miranda flashes a shot just wide of the target.

90' - CHANCE! Yann Sommer pulls off a stunning save to keep Thiago Silva's header out. What a moment that could be for Switzerland. Heroics from the Gladbach shot stopper. 

89' - Switzerland tries to break on the counter. It looks set to peter out, but after bundling his way through Shaqiri gets a shot off. Hide, wide and not at all handsome though.

88' - WHAT A CHANCE! The ball is whipped in from the right, Neymar ghosts in between two defenders only to guide his header straight at Yann Sommer.

85' - This game is being played on a knife's edge. Who will strike? Or will the spoils be shared?

82' - Roberto Firmino, fresh off the bench, latches onto a hopeful ball forward and flashes an effort across goal. 

80' - A moment of confusion on the sidelines. The fourth official flashed up the number of Granit Xhaka with Breel Embolo ready to come on for the closing exchanges. A striker for a holding midfielder when you're playing at 1-1 against Brazil in you first game at the World Cup? Just a mix up. It's Seferovic who's coming off. Can you imagine?!

79' - You get the feeling there's still a goal left in this game. It's just a question of which way is it going to go?

74' - Brazil want a penalty for a challenge by Manuel Akanji on Gabriel Jesus, but the referee's not having and VAR isn't either apparently.

72' - I hadn't thought about it that way... 

70' - CHANCE! The ball is floated towards Coutinho who brings it down on his chest before sending a snapshot just wide of the far post. 

67' - Brazil are awarded another free-kick in a promising position, but Neymar's delivery lets him down. The ball eventually makes it way out to Fernandinho, whose shot is deflected behind for corner... which comes to nothing.

63' - The game has dropped into a lull in the last couple of minutes. Switzerland are conserving energy with Brazil adopting a patient approach to their forward advances. You just know they can turn it on at the drop of a hat though.

59' - Gabriel Jesus has a pot shot from range which does little to trouble Yann Sommer in goal.

57' - Neymar tries to dance his way to the byline, gets a shot off but ends up clashing ankles with Lichtsteiner. He's hobbling...

54' - Brazil are trying to bounce back. Switzerland aren't making life easy for them though.

50' - GOAL! Switzerland level the scores. Steven Zuber is left unmarked from a corner and heads home the equalizer. The second half springs to life and we're back on level terms. Brazil are claiming Zuber was guilty of a push, but it's not enough for VAR to intervene. 

SECOND HALF! We're back underway in Rostov. 

HALF TIME! - Coutinho's wonder strike is the difference at the break. Switzerland won't have too many complaints with their first-half performance, while Brazil will be looking to create more after the break. They controlled proceedings without truly threatening.

42' - Brazil look to play Gabriel Jesus in behind, but Dortmund's Manuel Akanji stands his ground well to halt him in his tracks.

39' - The first real chance for Switzerland presents itself to Hoffenheim's Steven Zuber. Unfortunately, his shot is so poor it ends up hitting Thiago Silva in the face instead of going towards goal. You could say he hit the target...

35' - Brazil are giving Switzerland the run around at times. 

32' - Another free-kick for Brazil ends with a disappointing delivery and barely a sniff of goal.

31' - Switzerland aren't giving Neymar an inch. The Brazilian is trying to work some of his magic in wide positions, but keeps running out of steam or getting his heels clipped.

27' - Both players appear to be ok to continue... 

25' - A clash of heads between Casemiro and Fabian Schär gives everyone a minute to catch their breathe and recover.

23' - Switzerland have responded well to going behind and don't appear to be shell shocked. They only went behind to a moment of individual brilliance.

20' - GOAL! Coutinho has hit one of the sweetest strikes in World Cup history to put Brazil ahead. The Barcelona forward picks up the ball just outside the area, swivles his hips to get his body around the ball before bending a delightful effort in off the far post - all in the blink of an eye. Samba sensation! 

18' - There are roars from the crowd in Rostov every time Brazil push into the final third. They're ready to explode if the South Americans can find the final pass to unlock this stubborn Swiss side.

15' - Brazil are awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Neymar steps up... and puts his effort into the wall.

12' - CHANCE! The first clear-cut opportunity goes Brazil's way. They up the tempo in a split second, but Paulinho can't turn a pull back on target as it trickles agonizingly wide of the far post.

11' - Switzerland are trying to probe their way forward, but seem wary of over committing. 

9' - Brazil have a chance to break forward on the counter for the first time, but a misplaced pass stops them in their tracks.

6' - Both sides are feeling each other out at present. Neither wants to be the first to make a mistake.

4' - Brazil are enjoying plenty of possession in the opening exchanges, but Switzerland are biding their time before pressing the South Americans off the ball.  

KICK OFF! - We're still reeling from Germany's defeat to Mexico, but let's see what Brazil and Switzerland have in store for their bows in Russia.

19:55 - It's a full-strength Brazil side for the nation's opening match of Russia 2018. Neymar spearheads an attacking group well balanced with the inclusion of the tireless Willian on the opposite flank. Talented Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus is tasked with knocking them in, while, further back, Coutinho will provide the ammunition. 

Switzerland's bloated FIFA ranking has many believing this could be their year. We'll know far more about their credentials in 90 minutes. It's got cracker written all over it.