Like France, Brazil now have six points which assured them a last 16 spot with a game in hand. Switzerland are second in the group with three points ahead of Cameroon and Serbia, both of whom are on 1 point each.
In a tight contest at Stadium 974, it took Brazil a late goal from Casemiro for the win against a dogged Swiss side. Midfielder Casemiro scored the solitary goal for the five-time champions in the 83rd minute with a stunning finish.
🎟 Brazil have booked their ticket to the Round of 16@adidasfootball | #FIFAWorldCup
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Doha’s Stadium 974 thrummed to the samba beat as Brazilian fans brought Latin American swagger to this patch of Qatar. The sea of Brazilian fans won’t care about 80 or so minutes of sloppy passing and directionless play that was forgotten in the hysteria of the final minutes.
Tens of thousands of yellow shirts had painted the inside of this quirky stadium bright yellow in a frieze of canary, broken up only by small pockets of local fans in traditional white robes and a smattering of red Swiss shirts.
It was hard to believe this was a match being played on the Arabian Peninsula, for it had every setting of a home game for the Brazilians – from the thunderous roars accompanying every fancy move to the rhythmic beat drummed out throughout.
But if the supporters had planned for a party, the student of soccer might well have suspected otherwise. The two previous World Cup meetings between these two sides had ended in draws – 2-2 in 1950, and 1-1 in 2018.
The Brazilians had only won three of their nine match-ups with Switzerland in total, with four drawn and two losses.
This Monday night clash looked to be heading for another stalemate before Casemiro’s moment of pure magic.
With Brazil increasingly desperate, half-time substitute Rodrygo played a first time ball to Casemiro who struck it with the outside of his foot and it glided – in time-honoured Brazilian fashion – past Yann Sommer in goal, the Swiss watching in horror as it bulged the side of the inside of his goal.
While Rodrygo provided the assist, Casemiro and Brazil owe a huge debt of gratitude to Vinicius Jr for the goal – Brazil’s newest superstar had drawn three increasingly desperate defenders onto him which created space for the goal.
Winded by a cruel moment of Brazilian brilliance, the Swiss slumped and the match could well have ended two or 3-0, but that would have been unduly harsh on the Europeans who, for the most part, blunted their opponents.
The Swiss, though, can take heart from their performance and a win against Serbia in their final group match will send them through along with Brazil, and a draw could even be enough.
(With inputs from agencies)