Philippe Coutinho lit up the Rostov Arena with one of the best goals of the World Cup so far but it was not enough to see the tournament favorites start with three points.
The Barcelona ace curled in a superb opener from long range after 20 minutes, but Switzerland hit back with a Steven Zuber header that left Brazil complaining to referee Cesar Arturo Ramos.
Brazil continued the trend of tournament favorites under-performing as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland in their World Cup Group E opener in Rostov.
Having bowed out of their home tournament four years ago with a 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany, Brazil initially started their mission to put that humiliation behind them in stunning fashion when Philippe Coutinho struck a sublime goal to open the scoring.
Despite dictating the pace of the game, Brazil were never completely dominant and had Switzerland’s rather toothless attack to thank for not taking advantage of the possession and space the underdogs were afforded.
The five-time winners failed to extend their lead and were punished early in the second half when Steven Zuber lost his marker at a corner and equalize – a goal that might have opened the game up had Brazil been at their best.
But Tite’s side remained somewhat subdued by their own high standards, with Neymar a shadow of his usual talismanic self having only recently recovered from a fractured foot, and their remaining group games with Costa Rica and Serbia now come with more pressure than would have previously been anticipated.
Switzerland can reflect on an excellent start to their campaign, having claimed a point from the most difficult of their group matches and improved their chances of reaching the knockout stages for the second consecutive tournament.
Vladimir Petkovic’s side began on the front foot, Xherdan Shaqiri sending a bouncing cross towards Blerim Dzemaili that the Bologna midfielder fired over the crossbar with a shot on the turn.
Their promising start could not last and soon Switzerland were sitting back as Brazil passed the ball crisply around the pitch, almost finding a breakthrough when Paulinho dragged a shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post with 10 minutes played.
Just 10 minutes later, Switzerland were reeling from a piece of sublime, quintessentially Brazilian skill.
Marcelo’s cross from the left bounced back out of the box to the feet of Coutinho, who took a touch to control it before unleashing a shot that curled spectacularly around helpless goalkeeper Yann Sommer and in off the post.