Switzerland out to shock record champions Brazil

Switzerland out to shock record champions Brazil
Brazil’s Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates with teammate Neymar

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Jun 16, 2018. 14:00

Switzerland will lock horns with Brazil in their maiden 2018 FIFA World Cup Group E match at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 20h00 CAT.

Die Nati will be making their fourth successive appearance in the World Cup finals having reached the Last 16 in the previous competition in Brazil.

Their best performance in the global competition was reaching the quarter-finals three times, in 1934, 1938 and when the country hosted the event in 1954.

Switzerland will look to their influential attacker Xherdan Shaqiri when they face Brazil. The Stoke City winger has netted 20 goals in 70 matches for Die Nati.

Yann Sommer, the Switzerland goalkeeper, is confident that they can cause an upset by defeating Brazil on Sunday.

“If we’re able to go into the game focused and with enough self-belief, then Brazil won’t find it easy,” Sommer said.

“We’re really focused on playing well and we want to get something from the game,” the Borussia Monchengladbach shot-stopper added.

Meanwhile, Brazil remain the only national team to have played in all World Cup finals without any absence nor need for playoffs and they are also most successful nation with five fitles.

Verde-Amarela were crowned champions in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002, and they will be keen to go all the way, and clinch their sixth title this year.

Neymar, who recently returned from a long-term injury, is Brazil’s star player and the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) forward is expected to start against Switzerland.

Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho says it is time for them to deliver with the Verde-Amarela having finished fourth in the previous tournament at home in 2014.

“We were expected to go all the way then, but things didn’t work out how we wanted,” said Coutinho.

“We had a World Cup to forget. It wasn’t good,” the FC Barcelona playmaker added.

Mexican referee Cesar Arturo Ramos will officiate the game between Switzerland and Brazil.

In head-to-head stats, according to FIFA.com, Switzerland and Brazil have clashed on eight occasions.

Brazil have registered three wins compared to Switzerland’s two victories, while three games ended in a draw.

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