Switzerland x Brazil Analysis
Before the Match
In the game vs Serbia, Danilo and Neymar got injured, so Tite replaced them with Fred and Eder Militão. Eder Militão, even though he is a center-back, played as a right full-back in Danilo’s place. “Vovô Olímpico", also known as Daniel Alves, continued on the bench even though he was called to be the reserve right full-back; it seems he was called just to play the “pandeiro” before the matches. For Neymar’s place, Tite was in doubt between picking Fred and making Paquetá play as an attacking midfielder, or picking Rodrygo to play an attacking midfielder playmaker role, just like Neymar plays. At the end of the day, Tite picked Fred.
The first half was very chill, with only one clear chance in the entire half. In this chance, Raphinha, who loves to take the ball to the middle to his left foot, crossed the ball perfectly to find Vinícius Jr free in the box. Vinícius did not hit the volley perfectly, and this made Sommer, the Swiss keeper, able to make the save. This chance happened because Manuel Akanji, one of Switzerland’s center backs, was poorly positioned and made Vinícius Jr able to stay onside. Besides this chance, Brazil was in control of the game but was missing Neymar, the player that creates a lot of chances for Brazil with his excellent dribbling and passing technique. Paquetá, who played in Neymar’s position, was not in one of his most brilliant days; he did create some minor plays, but his movement is very different from Neymar’s and he wasn’t able to find the best positions to be in, and actually create concrete goal chances.
In the second half, Tite substituted Paquetá for Rodrygo, a player that has a playing style similar to Neymar. In the first 15 minutes of the half, Switzerland played very well and was able to dominate the ball more. The nation was able to cage Brazil into its side of the field and actually create a chance, which ended up with Marquinhos making a perfect slide tackle to block the ball from getting to the Swiss attacker. After the first 15 minutes, Brazil dominated the game and had an offside goal. In this goal, Bruno Guimarães overhit a pass to Alex Sandro, but Richarlison, taking one of the defenders with him, was able to touch the ball and send it to Rodrygo, who took Widmer, Switzerland’s right full back who in theory is defending Vinícius Jr, to the opposite side of the pitch. When the opposing team's fullback was out of position, Rodrygo rolled the ball for Casemiro to make an easy pass to Vinícius Jr, who was free on the left side of the pitch. Vinícius Jr, face to face with the goalkeeper, was able to take the best of the duel and put the ball in the bottom left corner of the goal. This goal was disallowed because Richarlison was poorly positioned, in an offside position, when Bruno Guimarães made the pass to Alex Sandro, who didn’t even touch the ball and made Richarlison receive a pass he was not expecting to receive at the beginning of the play. The actual goal of the match came from a fabulous play executed by Casemiro and Rodrygo. This play started after Brazil switched the ball with short passes between players to switch the side of the field the game was being played in, and this messed up the opponent's defensive lines. When Vincícius Jr received the ball on the left side of the pitch, he brought the ball to the middle and passed it to Rodrygo, who noticed an extremely clever movement from Casemiro. Casemiro, as a defensive midfielder, is not expected to be in the opponent's area, but since he is a very good player, Casemiro noticed nobody was looking at him, so he entered into the box to receive a pitch-perfect pass from Rodrygo, who passed the ball high for him since Rodrygo knew the only way Casemiro would be able to score in the position he was in, would be with a first touch volley kick. When the defensive midfielder received the ball, he volleyed it home with precision and power into the top left corner of the goal, counting with a small deflection from the Swiss Manchester City center-back Manuel Akanji. After the goal, Brazil controlled the game to take the three points home, and complete the second out of the seven steps to achieve the dreamed World Cup title.
After the Game
With the win, Brazil qualified for the World Cup Round of 16. Now the team only needs a draw against Cameroon to qualify in first place of the group, and this is if Switzerland beats Serbia in a tough game that will seal the second spot in the group. Brazil will probably go with the reserves against Cameroon since in the World Cup, only two yellow cards, even if they aren’t in the same game, will already take a player out of the next match. Tite probably won’t want to take any risks in the game since in 2018, Casemiro did not play against Belgium because he received two yellow cards and got booked out from the decisive Belgium game; let’s see if Tite learned from his mistakes this time and will not play the first team players against Cameroon in this next fixture.