Neymar Brazil
Neymar will be the cynosure, and not just because of that haircutBuda Mendes/Getty Images

All eyes will be on Neymar as Brazil kick-off their Fifa World Cup 2018 proceedings with a match against a team ranked just four places below them. Switzerland might not be in too many people's favourites list, but ranked six in the Fifa rankings they have a team capable of going a long way.

Brazil, of course, will be aware of Switzerland's strengths, considering how well Tite has marshalled his troops since taking over the Selecao.

However, no matter how well he might have organised his side, all that would have meant little if Neymar was not fit for this Fifa World Cup in Russia.

Fortunately, the talisman has seemingly recovered from the broken foot suffered while playing for his club PSG earlier this year, with Neymar even scoring a wonderful goal in a friendly just before the start of the World Cup.

However, the manager did err on the side of caution, saying Neymar is still not fully 100 per cent fit, considering how little competitive football he has played after recovering from his injury.

"Neymar is not 100 percent yet," Tite said. "But he is privileged and strong physically -- he is very quick, and he hasn't lost that. I hope he'll be ready, but the medical staff knows better. He's good enough to play very well.

Tite also has to decide how much of an attacking lineup he goes with against the supremely well-drilled Switzerland side. The Brazil coach has the choice of playing Paulinho, Casemiro and Fernandinho in what is a more conservative midfield lineup or he could push Philippe Coutinho back and add Willian to the front three, alongside Neymar and Gabriel Jesus.

Whatever he goes with, though, you feel most of it will depend on how well Neymar plays – if he is in the mood, Switzerland will struggle.

Team news:


Neymar was the only real injury concern for Brazil, and with the main man expected to feature, Tite should be able to name his strongest squad.

There used to be a time when Brazil would struggle for just one decent goalkeeper, but for this Fifa World Cup, they have two world-class ones to choose from.

Ederson might have been a vital cog in Manchester City's wheel during their march to the Premier League title, but the impressive goalkeeper is going to have to watch from the sidelines, with Allison set to take his place in goal.

As impressive as Ederson has been, Allison has been just as good, if not better, for Roma and Brazil, which has led to the goalkeeper being linked with the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid.


Going by the Fifa rankings this should be an evenly-contested match, but expect Brazil to dominate, with the Swiss looking to catch their opponents on the counter. In order for that to work, the manager Vladimir Petkovic will need to choose his playing XI accordingly, so it will be interesting to see how he goes.

Confirmed starting XI:

Brazil: Alisson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo; Casemiro, Paulinho, Philippe Coutinho; Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar.

Switzerland: Yann Sommer; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Fabian Schar, Manuel Akanji, Ricardo Rodriguez; Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka; Xherdan Shaqiri, Blerim Dzemaili, Steven Zuber; Haris Seferovic.