Casemiro’s late strike saw Brazil defeat Switzerland 1-0 in Group G to secure their spot in the knockout stages at 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Following a competitive opening 63 minutes, Vinicius Junior initially fired Brazil ahead but Video-Assistant Referee (VAR) ruled the goal offside, due to an infringement during the build-up.
Brazil eventually found the match winner through a clinical 83rd minute strike from Casemiro to edge a nervy contest against Switzerland.
The result meant that Brazil are through to the Round of 16 with a game to spare, whilst Switzerland sit second after Cameroon and Serbia played out a topsy-turvy 3-3 thriller in the other Group G match.
With Danilo and Neymar ruled out of this game due to respective rib and ankle injuries, manager – Tite promoted Eder Militao and Fred to the starting line-up in Brazil’s only changes from their opening win over Serbia.
Brazil though initially struggled to find their best foot in a sluggish opening 18 minutes until Lucas Paqueta whipped in a low cross to Richarlison, which was blocked with a rebound cross quickly cleared.
Vinicius Junior then saw a 27th minute chance denied by Swiss goalkeeper, Yann Sommer after he met Raphina’s initial cross, only for the shot to land in Sommer’s arms comfortably.
Raphinha four minutes later found space to cut into along the right flank to unleash a shot, which Sommer comfortably gathered up in his palms.
Both teams however were unable to find a breakthrough goal before half-time despite Brazil finishing the opening half on top, amidst a brief dimming of lights within the stadium in the 45th minute which quickly lit back up again without a stoppage.
After the break, both teams raised their pressing tempo but it would be Switzerland who had the first decent opportunity, as Djibril Sow saw a rebound shot denied after Silvan Widmer’s initial pullback pass in the 53rd minute was blocked.
Richarlison three minutes later missed a huge opportunity to put Brazil ahead as he mistimed his run into the box, which left Vinicius Junior’s cross to fly behind his back and out for a goal-kick.
Sow then missed another opportunity as his shot on the hour mark was denied before he then found substitute, Edimilson Fernandes whose shot was also blocked.
Up the other end four minutes later, Vinicius Junior picked up Casemiro’s forward pass and calmly side-stepped Nico Elvedi to curl across into the bottom-right corner, although Brazil’s celebrations were short-lived after VAR ruled Richarlison offside in the build-up.
Brazil though weren’t able to break down a stubborn Swiss defence until a quick-passing move in the 83rd minute from Vinicius Junior found Rodrygo, who teed up Casemiro to curl in via a deflection from Manuel Akanji.
Rodrygo four minutes later missed a chance to double Brazil’s lead as his shot was flicked over by Sommer, before Antony curled wide just seconds later from the corner.
Brazil eventually clung on to take victory and secure a spot in the Round of 16, whilst Switzerland sit second and in need of at least one point from their final game against Serbia to secure a knockout spot.
Serbia and Cameroon must meanwhile both win their final group matches to stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Portugal Reaches Last 16
Bruno Fernandes’ second-half brace proved enough to ensure Portugal defeated Uruguay 2-0 to secure a Round of 16 spot, as he curled in a 54th minute strike, before dispatching an injury-time penalty following a handball from Jose Maria Gimenez.
Mohammed Kudus produced a 68th minute winner to send Ghana second with a 3-2 victory over South Korea, after his and Mohammed Salisu’s first-half goals were cancelled out by Cho Gue-sung’s brace.
Brazil: Alisson, Eder Militao, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro (Telles 86′), Casemiro, Lucas Paqueta (Rodrygo 45′), Fred (Guimaraes 58′), Raphinha (Antony 73′), Richarlison (Jesus 73′), Vinicus Junior
Substitutes: Weverton, Dani Alves, Fabinho, Alex Telles, Bruno Guimaraes, Gabriel Jesus, Antony, Rodrygo, Everton Ribeiro, Ederson, Bremer, Pedro, Gabriel Martinelli
Switzerland: Yann Sommer, Silvan Widmer (Frei 86′), Manuel Akanji, Nico Elvedi, Ricardo Rodriguez, Remo Freuler, Granit Xhaka, Fabian Rieder (Steffen 59′), Djibril Sow (Aebischer 76′), Ruben Vargas (Fernandes 59′), Breel Embolo (Seferovic 76′)
Substitutes: Edimilson Fernandes, Denis Zakaria, Haris Seferovic, Renato Steffen, Jonas Omlin, Michel Aebischer, Christian Fassnacht, Eray Cömert, Fabian Frei, Gregor Kobel, Fabian Schar, Xherdan Shaqiri, Philipp Kohn, Ardon Jashari
Referee: Ivan Barton (El Salvador)