Casemiro late goal takes Brazil into last 16 with a game to spare, join France for knockouts
Doha, November 29, 2022
A goal seven minutes from the end helped Brazil register a 1-0 win over Switzerland and qualify for the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup.
On Monday evening at Stadium 974 in Qatar, Casemiro scored the only goal of the match.
The five-time champions join defending champions France in the knockout stage after registering their second successive win in a Group G encounter.
Casemiro's first World Cup goal took the Brazilians' points tally to six, while Switzerland remained on three points. Cameroon and Serbia, which played out a thrilling six-goal thrilling draw, have a point each heading into the final round of group league matches.
After securing a 2-0 win against Serbia in its opening match, Brazil, with the win against Switzerland, stands at six points from two matches and qualifies for the knockout with a game to spare.
Brazil will play its final group match against Cameroon on December 3.
On Monday, Brazil did not set the stadium on fire in the opening half without their injured talisman Neymar but created a few ripples in the rival half with Vinicius Junior and Raphinha, coming close to scoring in the opening half.
Brazil coach Tite replaced the injured Neymar and Danilo with Manchester United's Fred and Eder Militao while Swiss counterpart Murat Yakin brought young Fabian Rieder for not fully fit Xherdan Shaqiri.
Brazil lost too many balls against a firm Swiss defence which was also not caught in the dark when the floodlights briefly went out just before half-time.
The Swiss finally threatened shortly after the break when Silvan Widmer raced down the right set up by Granit Xhaka but the Brazil defence hacked his sharp Ruben Vargas-bound cross away.
The introduction of Rodrygo made Brazil more dangerous with Richarlison, the two-goal hero against Serbia on Thursday, failing to reach in time to meet Vinicius Junior's cross 11 minutes into the second session.
And there was more frustration for The Selecao, when thought they had their first goal when Vinicius Jr found the net in the 64th minute, but a VAR overturned the goal for offside as it came to light Richarlison was offside in the build-up to the move 20 minutes into the second half.
Brazil who had been knocking at the door finally opened the floodgates. Vinicius Jr rolled a cute pass down the inside-left channel. Casemiro, just inside the box, swivelled and hit a first-time shot which ended in the top right corner. Yann Sommerin at the Swiss goal, feet planted, had no chance, with the ball whistling into the nets.
"We knew it wouldn't be an easy group. It was very hard against Serbia. Switzerland had a lot to offer. We were patient. It is not always nice games, the teams neutralised each other, little things make the difference," Casemiro said.
"I hit the ball perfectly but the most important thing is to help the team," he added.
Down by a goal, the Swiss had to abandon their defensive plan, as a result more chances fell Brazil's way but they were unable to add further goals.
Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimaraes' header went straight to Sommer, while Rodrygo had the best opening in injury-time, but his thumping shot was brilliantly blocked by Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji.