World Cup Opener for Brazil against Switzerland Will Be Tough

According to Stephane Chapuisat, Brazil may be one of the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup, but he believes that they will have a surprisingly difficult start to their campaign when they face Switzerland.

Football news: The Selecao will have a tough match against Vladimir Petkovic's men, says Chapuisat

The Selecao will be beginning their 2018 campaign in Russia, hoping to win a sixth world cup title and to eradicate the harsh memories of a 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-final of 2014 on home soil.

Brazil is placed in Group E alongwith Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia, and are expected to win all the group matches and top the group.

However Stephane Chapuisat, who is a former Swiss and Borussia Dortmund player believes that Vladimir Petkovic’s men will give a tough fight to Tire’s men.

"Brazil is one of the favourites of the tournament, but Switzerland are always difficult to handle, we are well organized and we can bother big teams," he told Goal. "But Brazil are still thinking about a World Cup at home that ended badly. They may have a big reaction.

"But it will be an interesting match and it will be a bonus for us if we achieve a positive result. The most important game for us will be the second against Serbia."

Chapuisat's optimistic view comes from the fact that Switzerland had won all but one of their 10 qualifying round games and came second in the qualifying group. Moreover they had made huge progress in recent years.

"Petkovic has integrated a lot of young players," he continued. "He found the right mix, with young players and some old ones. We had a very good qualifying phase with him. It was special because there were two teams that won nine games out of 10; us and Portugal. We finished second and we had to go through the playoffs. Now, it's going to be an interesting World Cup in a group where there is a big favourite like Brazil. But it will be tight between the other teams.

"We have a good team if everyone is there. We have quality players. Our problem is that we have a lot of players who play abroad but who aren't necessarily in the starting XI at their clubs. For the national team, it is always problematic when important players lack playing time. But that's the lot of the countries like us where the standard of the national championship is not very high and where the good players go elsewhere. There is a risk that they will not play or that they will be in the wrong position."

When Switzerland hosted the tournament in 1954, they reached the quarter-finals which is their best performance until now. In the last World Cup they finished in the last-16 stage. Chapuisat believes this year they can go one further.

Chapuisat added: "It would be beautiful to reach the quarter-finals, but we have to be solid in these knockout matches. We know that everything is possible, but as I said, we must have a great match as our team hasn't yet reached the knockout stage."