By Izuchukwu Okosi

Brazil  inspired by Paris Saint Germain striker Neymar joined the host of big guns who have failed to fire in their opening World Cup game as they   were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland parading Nigerian born defender Manuel Akanji in the second Group E game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Sunday at the Rostov Arena.

Phillipe Coutinho and Steven Zuber were on target for Brazil and Switzerland respectively.

Brazil’s midfielder Paulinho missed a chance agonisingly from two yards out after a flowing move by the Samba boys in the tenth minute, Switzerland’s keeper Yann  Somer’s finger pushing the ball out for a corner kick.

Barcelona star Coutinho struck a superb shot and got the South Americans their first goal in the 20th minute.

Thiago Silva’s header from a corner just before the half time break was strong but not on target and it remained 1-0 advantage Brazil.

The second half began in dramatic fashion as Steven Zuber equalised for the Swiss through a header off a corner kick albeit television playback revealed he pushed Brazilian defender Miranda before scoring five minutes after the restart.

Akanji’s sloppy defending let substitute Roberto Firmino the space to hit a first time shot from a tight angle which narrowly went off target with eight minutes to go.

In added time, Somer saved a great Firmino header while Joao Miranda’s low shot missed target by some inches.

In the first Group E match on Sunday Serbia got their Group E campaign at the 2018 World Cup with a slim 1-0 win over Costa Rica.

Roma left wingback Alexander Kolarov scored the decisive goal in the 56th minute from a sumptuous freekick.

Marcos Urena and Giancarlo Gonzalez had Costa Rica’s first chances of the game within the first ten minutes but disappointingly missed with the latter’s header from  corner particularly poor.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was presented with Serbia’s opportunity close to the half hour mark but his tame shot was easily saved by Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.

The Lazio forward went close just two minutes to the break but his overhead kick was met with an assistant referee’s flag for offside.

Alexander Mitrovic missed a glorious chance in the 50th minute, Navas diving to the feet of the Newcastle United striker.

Kolarov then broke the deadlock eleven minutes into the second half with a fantastic freekick that beat Costa Rica’s wall.

Mitrovic missed a glit edged chance thereafter but despite Costa Rica’s late surge in search of an equaliser, Serbia held on and clinched a vital win.