World Cup latest: Swiss play Cameroon before Serbia take on Brazil

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Switzerland vs Cameroon (11 CET)

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin believes his squad is well-equipped to make history as they prepare for their opening match of the 2022 World Cup against Cameroon in Group G on Thursday.

The Swiss have not reached the quarter-finals since they hosted the tournament in 1954 but, having emerged undefeated through qualifying, Yakin has urged his side to make the most of what he considers an unprecedented opportunity.

“I think we are the best Switzerland national team that has ever existed – we have fantastic players who play abroad and I am convinced we will perform our best World Cup ever,” said Yakin.

“I think we have a great team with a great team spirit that has been built for the last couple of years. Football-wise we have improved a lot, and now we want to write history.”

Qatar is Switzerland’s fifth consecutive appearance at the World Cup, a record for the team. 

Uruguay vs South Korea (14 CET)

Uruguay head coach Diego Alonso insisted his players would not target the physical condition of South Korea’s star attacker Son Heung-min when the two nations meet in their Group H World Cup opener on Thursday.

The fitness of Son, who is currently wearing a black eye mask after surgery on a fractured eye socket, is being assessed by head coach Paulo Bento on a ‘day-by-day’ basis.

“We have the utmost respect for Son but they have other footballers,” added Alonso.

Uruguay captain Diego Godin joined Alonso at the press conference in an indication he could start despite being played by a knee injury over the last year.

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Portugal vs Ghana (17 CET)

The Cristiano Ronaldo saga has dominated the build-up to Portugal’s opening group match, but it has proved no distraction for head coach Fernando Santos.

Portugal’s boss said on Wednesday that the issue has never emerged in the talks he had with the team since they landed in Qatar.

Ronaldo himself cut a relaxed figure on the eve of Portugal’s opening match at the 2022 World Cup.

Ronaldo was all smiles less than 24 hours after he agreed to terminate his contract with Manchester United following a controversial interview in which he criticised the club and the owners.

Portugal begin their campaign against Ghana before further fixtures versus Uruguay and South Korea.

Brazil vs Serbia (20 CET)

Serbia is aiming to advance from the group stage for the first time in its fourth World Cup appearance as an independent nation.

Their first step: Brazil.

Head coach Dragan Stojkovic joked about the reports that their first opponent at the World Cup, Brazil would start with four forwards, Neymar, Raphinha, Vinicius Jr. and Richarlison.

Many of current Serbia’s players were on the team that beat Brazil to lift the under-20 World Cup trophy in 2015; as well as a win over France in the final of the under-19 European Championship final two years earlier.

With the talent that he has on his side, he announced that “Brazil has a chance to win but Serbia also has a chance to win. So, we are not afraid of anyone in the world!”

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