Brazil 1 - 1 Switzerland: Neymar Wants Protections From Referees

Posted June 20, 2018

The last time it didn't win its first game in a World Cup, Pele had just retired from soccer. We have to be very cohesive as a team and close the gaps when we confront those individual players.

The Antalyaspor defender, though, accepts the calibre of opponent Switzerland faces against Brazil makes its opening task hard.

Brazil will be looking to avoid the pitfalls their fellow World Cup favourites Argentina, Spain and France fell into in their opening games when the five-times world champions take on a fiercely organised Switzerland team on Sunday.

They made a strategy based on avoiding Neymar develop his game, tackling him when he received the ball.

Coach Tite said his side suffered from anxiety during the game, the first time Brazil have not won a World Cup opener since 1978, urging them to keep their heads when they got into shooting positions. "It's practically impossible to neutralize a player like Neymar for the full 90 minutes".

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He said: "We had 20 attempts, but too many balls off-target".

Having regain full fitness, Neymar scored in Brazil's friendly wins over Croatia and Austria before their arrival in Russian Federation, and Lichtsteiner, who left Juventus to join Arsenal at the end of the domestic season, has no illusions about the scale of the task Switzerland face in attempting to halt the Paris Saint-Germain attacker. "I am proud of the way my team played and against a good rival we had to be disciplined as a side".

But the 26-year-old's strike eventually was not enough as some unconvincing defending from Miranda allowed Steven Zuber to level the scoring early in the second half after a Ricardo Rodriguez corner.

With this, Brazil's momentum had dissipated and the tempo of the match apparently slowing down.

"The work we have done elevates the expectations, but also brings us peace", he said.

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And 20 minutes in in his first ever World Cup game, the little Brazilian did what Premier League fans have been used to seeing for years. "I guess that will be normal to be fouled regularly, we have to pay attention to it, but that's something normal in football".

"But it will be an interesting match and it will be a bonus for us if we achieve a positive result".

They will face a similar challenge finding space in attack against their next opponents Costa Rica, who play with a five-man defence and were only beaten 1-0 by Serbia due to an outstanding free kick from Aleksandar Kolarov.

A fully fit Neymar will be needed if Brazil can't turn things around and arrive for the deciding match against Serbia on the brink of elimination.

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