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Brazil v Switzerland: Five-time champions Brazil kick off their FIFA World Cup campaign today

Much-fancied Brazil get their World Cup campaign underway when they take on Switzerland in Group E in Rostov on Sunday (7pm BST).


The five-time champions look to have returned to their best under head coach Tite and were the first team to qualify for the tournament.

They have continued their impressive form in their warm-up games and forwards Willian, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho and Neymar all looked in good shape in wins over Croatia and Austria.

Brazil will also be looking to banish some demons after being humiliated 7-1 by Germany at the last World Cup as tournament hosts.

They are one of the favourites to win the World Cup, for a record sixth time, and have only lost once in 21 games under Tite.

"The 7-1 is no longer in our heads, we have the level to be world champions again and re-write our history," said defender Thiago Silva.

"We have greater confidence," added midfielder Paulinho. "Brazil are better prepared in a number of ways. That is just part of football. In four years you learn a lot of things."

Standing in Brazil's way are a Switzerland side who are ranked sixth in the world after winning nine games in a row in qualifying.

They were also unbeaten in four warm-up games, including a 1-1 draw with Spain.

And manager Vladimir Petkovic, leading the country into a World Cup for the first time, admitted he has taken special measures to stop Neymar, who recovered from a broken foot in time to play his part in the tournament.

"Of course Neymar is an exceptional player," said Petkovic. "It is difficult to hold him back throughout an entire match. Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, he is one of the strongest players in the world.

"We have to prepare mentally to play against such strong players."

Costa Rica and Serbia also meet in Group E on Sunday.

Team news
Neymar is back to fitness having played and scored in two warm-up matches for Brazil, leaving coach Tite's only real dilemma between starting Jesus and Firmino in attack. Firmino scored only once in qualifying, but did net in a friendly win over Croatia earlier this month.

Switzerland will have to do without Admir Mehmedi, who is ruled out by injury, and still have a question to answer over whether to start Haris Seferovic in attack.

Opta stats
Brazil and Switzerland's only previous World Cup encounter was on Brazilian soil in 1950, it ended 2-2.

Switzerland have topped their group only once previously at the World Cup, it was in 2006. That was the year they became the only team not to concede a single goal at a World Cup (4 games, 0 goal conceded).

Switzerland won all bar one of their games in the regular qualifying phase for Russia 2018 (W9 L1), the only exception coming against Portugal away.

Brazil are unbeaten in their last 12 World Cup group games, winning 10 (D2), their last defeat in the group phase dating back to 1998 against Norway. In fact, Brazil have topped their group (Round 1) in every single World Cup since 1982 and last failed to progress past the first round in 1966.

Brazil have also won 16 of their last 18 opening games at the World Cup (D2). The last time they lost their first game in the tournament was in 1934 against Spain (1-3).

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Source: skysports

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