Few teams have a World Cup ghost as hefty as Brazil’s to exorcise, after their 7–1 semi-final humiliation, in front of a home crowd, at the hands of Germany in 2014. But then few teams can match Brazil’s sheer quality, as shown in the battle of the centre forwards: will manager Tite stick with wunderkind Gabriel Jesus, or will Roberto Firmino get the nod?
Assuming the Group E top spot is Brazil’s, the fight’s on for second – and Switzerland will be in the mix.
Defenders: Danilo (Manchester City), Fagner (Corinthians), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain), Marquinhos (Paris St-Germain), Miranda (Inter Milan) Pedro Geromel (Gremio).
Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea), Douglas Costa (Juventus).
Strikers: Neymar Jr (Paris St-Germain), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).
Goalkeepers: Roman Buerki (Borussia Dortmund), Yvon Mvogo (Leipzig), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach).
Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basel), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Jacques-Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (Milan), Fabian Schaer (Deportivo La Coruna).