Brazil’s first opponents, Serbia, were highly fancied to be one of the dark horses at this tournament, but a dominant performance from the Selecao made them look very ordinary.
Complete domination from the first whistle till last rewarded Tite’s side with a 2-0 success over the Balkan nation, thanks to a Richarlison double in the second half.
After some discussion in both the Brazilian and British press about whether Richarlison justified a start given his mixed start at Tottenham Hotspur, the forward answered his critics and put on the kind of display which led Spurs to spend £60M to praise him from Everton.
His fabulous second goal lit up the Lusail Stadium, the same venue he and Brazil will hope to return to for the final in three weeks, and based on their display on Thursday, they have a very good chance of doing so.
That win sealed an eighth successive victory for the five-time World Cup winners, and they remain unbeaten since their defeat in the 2021 Copa America final.
Those eight wins have seen them score 28 goals, and even though they only managed two against Serbia, it should have been a lot more.
Serbia was fortunate Brazil wasted many chances and that Vanja Milinkovic-Savic in goal was on form, as they racked up 24 shots and comfortably kept the Europeans quiet.
Switzerland was much more efficient in their opening-day win over Cameroon, getting the job done despite not setting the competition alight.
Yann Sommer was very rarely tested either, and that can be put down to a mixture of Cameroon’s lack of quality and the solid foundations of the Swiss side.
The new manager, the same efficiency, but a different system under Murat Yakin now sees Switzerland play with a back four as opposed to Vladimir Petkovic’s preferred system of five-at-the-back.
Yakin will have been delighted with the win and a clean sheet, as it was only the second time in their last 10 fixtures that they have managed to shut out the opposition, but many of those games did come against top-quality opposition in the Nations League.
They did concede just once in their final six qualifiers after Euro 2020 when Yakin came in through,, so there is no doubt they will make it tough for Brazil as they did in the last World Cup when they held them to a 1-1 draw.
Thursday’s win saw them record a fourth successive victory in competitive fixtures now, a run which has seen them beat Spain and Portugal, so to make it five against Brazil would make everyone sit up and notice.
It was a poignant moment for Swiss striker Breel Embolo in their opening fixture, as he scored against the country of his birth, showing respect for Cameroon with a very muted celebration on the biggest stage of all.
Brazil has not won the World Cup in twenty years and will aim to end that unexpected dominance of European national teams. Undoubtedly, Brazil is the top favorite to triumph in Qatar, alongside Argentina, who have been unbelievable lately as well. When you look at Brazil’s squad, there is not one player that is not a star in world football and you can expect great performances from every single one. You should keep an eye out for Neymar and Marquinhos from PSG, as well as Vinicius Jr. from Real Madrid.
Richarlison is another player to watch in the 2022 World following a stunning bicycle kick that sealed the win for the Samba Boys in the Round 1 clash with Serbia. We expect even more goals from Tite’s men. Neymar will be sidelined for this game after picking an injury in the opener but that should be a setback for the Samba Boys who have plenty of talents in their ranks.
Switzerland had a good run in the qualifiers and got a direct ticket to Qatar after beating Bulgaria in the final round. The team has been exceptional in defense, which was evident in their World Cup 2022 opener against Cameroon. The Swiss, just like the Brazilians, now have a clean-sheet win to defend and a top-table ambition to chase. Switzerland cannot boast against World Class players like Brazil but with top talents like Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Manuel Akanji, you can expect them to equally put up a show in this Round 2 game. We expect at least a goal from the Swiss.
Brazil vs Switzerland Prediction
With Neymar ruled out of the group stage due to injury, Brazil will need to tap into their commendable squad depth to top their group. The likes of Rodrygo and Gabriel Jesus are perfectly capable of filling Neymar’s boots and will look to make their mark this week.
Switzerland has troubled Brazil in the past and has been surprisingly effective in their recent games against the Selecao. Brazil is the better team on paper, however, and we expect them to secure a narrow victory in this game.
Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Switzerland