Brazil thought they had opened the scoring after the hour mark through Vinicius Jr., but VAR ruled out the goal for offsides.
Switzerland were content with playing compact and rarely posed an attacking threat, failing to register a single shot on target for the whole of the match.
Murat Yakin's men remain second in the group with their last match coming against Serbia on Friday knowing a win would secure the Nati a place in the last 16 for the fourth time in the last five World Cups.
Story of the match
His absence was clearly felt as the Selecao were far from their best, Raphinha seeing his long-distance strike kept out by Sommer.
A 27th-minute chance by Vinicus Jr., left unmarked at the back post, but he failed to cleanly connect with the cross and the Switzerland shot-stopper was able to keep it out.
Just before halftime, Lucas Paqueta, playing in a more advanced position with Fred brought into the starting lineup, sent in a cross that Richarlison was inches away from connecting with.
He had an even better chance in the second half, Alisson starting the passage of play that found Richarlison after almost being chased down by Breel Embolo and Vinicius Jr.'s cross went across the face of goal, inches from the double-goal scorer against Serbia.
The Nati were less focused on attack than they were on limiting the damage, but they did provide a couple of nervy moments for the South Americans, Alex Sandro sliding in to make a desperate block of a Sylvan Widmer cross in the 53rd minute.
The tournament favorites thought they had opened the scoring as some good work by Richarlison and Rodrygo which gave Vinicius Jr. space on the left to tuck past Sommer, but VAR ruled Richarlison offsides in the build-up.
The unlikely match-winner came from Casemiro, who scored just his sixth goal in 67 career appearances in a Brazil shirt following as quick interchange passes saw Rodrygo thread a pass to the midfielder, whose angled finish found the back of the net.
They had chances late to add a second, Guimaraes' header straight at Sommer and Rodrygo's blazing effort brilliantly kept out by defender Manuel Akanji.
Player of the match: Alex Sandro
For all of Brazil's attacking riches, it was the quiet, but steady midfielder who stood out. He had the most dribbles in the match, the most tackles for the Selecao and his 10 duels won were also tops on the evening.
His play down the left was nothing short of sensational, the driving force as the five-time champions pushed up the pitch, looked to create in attack and create decisive patterns of play when his side struggled against the tough Nati midfield.