Rostov (Russia), June 18 (IANS) Switzerland came up with a gritty, fighting performance to hold title contenders Brazil 1-1 in a Group E match of the FIFA World Cup here on Sunday.
Philippe Coutinho handed Brazil the lead with an in-swinging, dipping free-kick in the 20th minute.
Switzerland made a strong comeback after the break with Steven Zuber exploit ing some loose marking to head in the equaliser off a corner in the 50th minute.
Switzerland are now second in the group with one point.
Serbia are at the top of the group with three points thanks to their victory over Costa Rica earlier in the day.
The goal seemed to rejuvenate the Europeans and they put the five-time world champions on to the back foot with some excellent attacking play.
The South Americans gradually regained their attacking rhythm but were repeatedly let down by the poor quality of their final pass.
The Swiss defence was extremely well organised and allowed very little space to the Brazil forwards.
But the Swiss defenders were guilty of committing numerous cynical fouls on Brazil’s star forward Neymar throughout the game.
Brazil’s attacking talisman, who struggled to recover from a foot injury before the tournament, did his level best, but was left battered by repeated fouls.
The Swiss players tried everything — pulling Neymar’s jersey, body checks and even the good old boot to the leg — to stop the Brazil star.
The rest of the Brazil forward line also struggled to penetrate the well organised Swiss defence.
Although they did create several half chances, Brazil were let down by poor finishing on those occasions.