It was billed as the battle between steady and precise Switzerland against the Samba and flair of Brazil – many people’s favourites for the trophy, and the game did not disappoint. A wonderful curling effort from Philippe Coutinho in the first half was cancelled out by a Steven Zubar header in the second.
The Swiss started the better and the brighter, closing up space high up the pitch and they created the first chance on four minutes when Xherdan Shaqiri’s pass created a scoring chance for Blerim Dzemaili, but he could only sky his effort.
Brazil responded with an attack down the right flank by Willian who whipped in a cross cum shot but he had no takers. Paulinho then should have opened the scoring on 12 minutes after a mistake from Fabian Schar, but the Barcelona midfielder missed his effort from four yards. Video replays showed Yann Sommer had gotten fingertips to push it wide.
Then Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring with a quite spectacular effort from outside the box. The Swiss thought they had cleared the danger but Coutinho whipped in a shot that had beat Sommer. What a goal!
Brazil had arrived in Russia. Stephan Lichtsteiner got the first yellow of the game after yanking at Neymar, who had been the victim of some roughhouse tactics.