Tuesday 25 September 2018

Neymar fails to fire as Brazil held by Switzerland in World Cup opener

The Paris St Germain forward might have snatched victory at the death.

Neymar endured a frustrating night (Andrew Medichini/AP)
Neymar endured a frustrating night (Andrew Medichini/AP)

By Press Association Sport Staff

Brazil star Neymar arrived in Russia admitting he would not have paid the £200million Paris St Germain did for his services, but ready to show the world his quality.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at how he fared in his side’s 1-1 Group E draw with Switzerland in Rostov.

Fitness

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Valon Behrami reacts as Neymar lays on the ground (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Looked lively in the early stages, but tired as the game wore on having missed the final three months of Paris St Germain’s season with a fractured metatarsal. His cause was not helped by some tenacious tackling which cost both Stephan Lichtsteiner and Valon Behrami bookings.

Role

Lined up on the left side of a three behind lone striker Gabriel Jesus and was asked to link up with playmaker Philippe Coutinho and target the space between full-back Lichtsteiner and central defender Fabian Schar. His readiness to take runners inside also gave marauding full-back Marcelo the opportunity to add another supply line.

Contribution

Valon Behrami has become the first player representing Switzerland to appear at four different FIFA World Cups.

Posted by FIFA World Cup on Sunday, June 17, 2018

Initially caused the Swiss defence major problems with his movement and ability on the ball. His influence waned as time ran down with his lack of recent action and a series of crunching challenges on him taking their toll, but he kept going manfully until the final whistle and might have won it at the death.

Potency

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Willian, left, created a chance for Neymar late on (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Created a series of chances for others, but also had a handful of opportunities to score himself. He saw a 58th-minute shot deflected into the side-netting by Lichtsteiner, but might have done better with two minutes remaining when he headed Willian’s cross straight at keeper Yann Sommer.

Press Association

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