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Review of Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao, and Rodrygo’s performances in Brazil’s win over Switzerland

The lone goal came courtesy of a Real Madrid connection with Vini, Rodrygo, and Casemiro combining to perfection.

Brazil v Switzerland: Group G - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The second Brazil fixture in group G saw them take on Switzerland. With Danilo out injured, Eder Militao entered the starting XI as a right back while Vinicius Junior retained his spot on the left wing. Despite Neymar’s injury, Rodrygo did not make it into the eleven with Tite opting to be more conservative and add an additional midfielder in Fred.

The first half was a stalemate with few opportunities for either side. Vinicius was fouled twice within the opening two minutes, it was clear the Swiss were looking to impose themselves physically. The best goal-scoring opportunity of the half fell to Vini, after Raphinha curled an in-swinging cross from the right. Vinicius connected with the cross, but lacked intent or confidence with his final touch. Instead of re-directing or providing additional power with his volley, Vini simply touched the ball and it was an easy save for Sommer. More would be expected of the Brazilian, especially with Neymar missing. Eder Militao struggled on the ball, especially as he moved further up the pitch. Brazil dominated possession, but Militao failed to provide a true offensive outlet on the right.

The second half saw Brazil take more risk and play slightly less conservative. The introduction of Rodrygo right at the start of the half and Bruno Guimaraes some 10 minutes later, helped provide more of a creative spark in midfield. Bruno G was at the start of a Switzerland turnover that led to the opening Brazil goal — a goal scored by Vinicius Junior himself. The winger was set free after Switzerland turned the ball over and failed to win their ensuing 50/50 challenges leaving Vini free down the left to dribble into the box and calmly pass the ball into the bottom corner. Just as Brazil’s celebrations ended, the goal was called back by VAR due to an offsides position from Richarlison.

Vini was the constant outlet and the overwhelming “go-to” option for Brazil. Switzerland kept a narrow shape with their back four and Widmer (Switzerland right back) would often tuck too far centrally, giving the Brazilian team amble space to play Vinicius on the left with room to run.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 83rd minute after Casemiro walloped a volley into the top corner. The goal was created courtesy of some dynamic and quick one-two touch interplay from Vinicius, Rodyrgo, and Casemiro — with Rodrygo ultimately getting the assist via a deft outside the boot touch. It was a clear Real Madrid connection between the three players. Three minutes later, Rodrygo nearly scored his own, finding space inside the box to get on his right foot and curl a shot that was ultimately saved by Sommer.

Brazil have now won their two opening matches and have qualified for the round of 16. They remain one of the favorites and all three of Militao, Rodrygo, and Vinicius will be important players in their march for the World Champion title.

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