By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 19th June 2018
Today in Brazil vs Switzerland we see the tournament favourites open their World Cup account hoping to banish the humiliating memories of the previous tournament where they lost 7-1 to Germany.
Talisman Neymar has played only 129 minutes since returning from a foot injury sustained in February, but he has scored in both friendlies he appeared in and will provide the inspiration Brazil may have lacked in that game four years ago.
Switzerland will be hoping to spoil the Samba spectacle and will draw encouragement from the fact they won 9 of their 10 qualifying matches and have suffered defeat only once in their past 22 games.
However, Brazil’s record in opening games at the World Cup is to be reckoned with having won 16 of their last 18 openers (drawing 2). Brazil to win both halves is 5/2.
Selecao’s fortunes have transformed under new coach Tite who has brought back flair, steel and charisma to a broken national side. They soared through qualifying becoming the first team to book their ticket to Russia whilst losing just one of Tite’s 21 games in charge so far.
Neymar will be looking to add to the four goals he scored at the last World Cup while Xherdan Shaqiri direct involvement in five of Switzerland’s last six goals at major tournaments (four goals and one assist) means the Swiss will hope he is the catalyst in Russia. Neymar and Shaqiri to both score is 9/1.
“These are things that happen in football,” the Brazil left-back Marcelo said when asked if he has yet got over the “trauma” of that night against Germany.
“Of course I wish it were different, but there is no trauma. If there was a trauma, I wouldn’t be playing football anymore. I would have retired.”
If you fancy the Granit Xhaka, Shaqiri and co. to cause a big cup upset then Shaqiri to score and Switzerland to win stands at 18/1.
Anis grew up supporting Manchester City but found joy and solace across Europe’s major football leagues. Increasingly passionate about NBA, he is interested in and has written extensively about many different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied Sport Journalism at University but spent a large portion of his academic years building City Watch instead - the largest independent Manchester City Twitter account and website.