Brazil may be Confederations Cup champions, but that doesn't mean that they're invincible. Spain's conquerors fell 1-0 at the hands of Switzerland at St. Jakob Park, and it was no freak result -- the Selecao were simply out-played by their hosts and couldn't find any purchase in the match.
The first half was scoreless, but it was hardly lacking in excitement. There were a slew of chances at both ends of the pitch, with Jefferson in particular put under pressure thanks to some powerful Swiss shooting. Xhedran Shaqiri was the dangerman, twice drawing the goalkeeper into sprawling saves from the edge of the box, and the Dante-Thiago Silva partnership was made to work by the hosts' dynamic attack.
The best chance of the half, however, fell to Brazil when Neymar swung in a cross from which Paulinho produced a glancing header. Diego Benaglio was well beaten, but the effort cannoned back off the crossbar and to safety. There was also a narrow escape when Blerim Dzemaili held Neymar in the box -- had the referee seen the incident from the same camera angle as the rest of us, they'd certainly have conceded a penalty.
Brazil's wayward finishing was also partly to blame for the opening half ending without a goal. Hulk wasted a brace of chances, badly mis-hitting a shot in the opening minutes after being picked out by Oscar and then firing against Benaglio's legs while one-on-one thanks to Fred's incisive pass. Oscar also might have done better after breaking through the Swiss lines, chesting down a cross and firing just wide of the near post.
The action wasn't just limited to scoring chances. For a friendly, both sides seemed remarkably happy to partake in a rather brutal match, and it took all of ten minutes for the first yellow card of the game to appear. Tempers were flaring, and Marcelo was incredibly lucky to get away with what looked an awful lot like a slap on Stephan Lichtsteiner after Neymar fouled the Juventus man.
Brazil won't have been happy with their display in the first half, and things quickly got worse after the restart thanks to a bullet header from Dani Alves -- into his own net. Shaqiri had set Haris Seferovic free down the Switzerland right, and his cross was fizzed into the back of the net by the Barcelona defender to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Things very nearly got worse for the visitors when Jefferson failed to control a back pass and was forced to scramble clear at Seferovic's feet. Hulk had a chance to pull it back on the hour mark after being picked out in the box by Maxwell, but for the third time of the game the burly forward failed to find the net.
There weren't many more chances for Brazil. The Selecao were facing a massed wall of red shirts as Switzerland collapsed deep to defend their lead, and despite the inventiveness of Neymar they simply couldn't find a way through. Indeed, it was the home side who looked more dangerous as they focused on counterattacking against a disorganised Brazil defence, with both Granit Xhaka and Shaqiri hammering shots towards Jefferson's goal.
Switzerland didn't exactly shut up shop, but they didn't need to, weathering Brazil's teacup-sized tempest to come away with a famous win.
Switzerland (4-2-3-1): Benaglio; Rodriguez, Senderos (Schar, 45'), Klose, Lichtsteiner (Lang, 62'); Dzemaili (Schwegler, 75'), Behrami; Stocker (Barnetta, 45'), Xhaka, Shaqiri; Seferovic (Gavranovic, 75').
Goals: Dani Alves og (48')
Brazil (4-2-3-1): Jefferson; Marcelo (Maxwell, 56'), Dante, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves (Jean, 69'); Paulinho, Luis Gustavo (Fernando, 56'); Neymar, Oscar (Hernanes, 59'), Hulk (Lucas Moura, 62'); Fred (Jo, 56').