Soccer  

Brazil 1-0 Switzerland: Casemiro winner seals last-16 spot

Casemiro scored a stunning winner as five-time champions Brazil edged past Switzerland to reach the World Cup knockout stage.

An otherwise drab encounter was brought to life seven minutes from time as Manchester United midfielder Casemiro fired a first-time effort into the far corner, leaving goalkeeper Yann Sommer standing.

Brazil backed up their opening victory over Serbia to top the group with maximum points and will guarantee top spot with a point against Cameroon in their final game.

Tite’s men thought they had broken the deadlock after the hour mark when Vinicius Jr kept his composure to coolly stroke in, but the goal was ruled out for offside by VAR.

Switzerland had sat compact for much of the game and did not offer any attacking threat, failing to get a shot on target in the contest.

Murat Yakin’s thought they were going to escape with a point, but Casemiro’s moment of inspiration had Brazilian fans bouncing inside Stadium 974.

‘Invisible man’ Casemiro stands tallest

For the most part, this looked like being a drab, goalless draw before Casemiro’s moment of brilliance.

The midfielder had been described before the game as Brazil’s “invisible man” by Gilberto Silva – part of their last World Cup-winning side of 2002. It was a tribute to the midfielder’s willingness to quietly do the team’s dirty work.

But this time, Casemiro was the centre of attention at the end, as he and his team-mates celebrated victory by jumping and singing in front of their fans.

It was a lovely finish too – with the Brazilians playing quick interchange passes before substitute Rodrygo of Real Madrid slipped a pass in for Casemiro to fire an angled finish with the outside of his boot.

Without injured star man Neymar, who was out injured and won’t recover until the knockout stage, Brazil lacked inspiration in the final third and found chances at a premium.

The tournament favourites are stacked with attacking players but it was their defensive midfield maestro who extended their unbeaten run in the group stages to a record 17 games.

It took Brazil 27 minutes to have their first shot, Vinicius Jr’s scuffed volley at the back post was pushed out by Sommer, while Raphinha’s well-struck effort from range was straight at the Switzerland goalkeeper.

The Swiss had to abandon their defensive shape when they conceded late on and further chances fell Brazil’s way but they were unable to add further goals.

Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimaraes’ header was straight at Sommer, while Rodrygo had the best opening for a second in injury-time, but his thumping shot was brilliantly blocked by Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji.

Player of the match

Vinícius JúniorVinícius Júnior

Brazil

  1. Squad number20Player nameVinícius Júnior

  2. Squad number5Player nameCasemiro

  3. Squad number17Player nameBruno Guimarães

  4. Squad number1Player nameAlisson

  5. Squad number3Player nameThiago Silva

  6. Squad number9Player nameRicharlison

  7. Squad number18Player nameGabriel Jesus

  8. Squad number11Player nameRaphinha

  9. Squad number4Player nameMarquinhos

  10. Squad number19Player nameAntony

  11. Squad number8Player nameFred

  12. Squad number7Player nameLucas Paquetá

  13. Squad number21Player nameRodrygo

  14. Squad number6Player nameAlex Sandro

  15. Squad number14Player nameÉder Militão

  16. Squad number16Player nameAlex Telles

Switzerland

  1. Squad number1Player nameSommer

  2. Squad number10Player nameXhaka

  3. Squad number5Player nameAkanji

  4. Squad number8Player nameFreuler

  5. Squad number13Player nameRodríguez

  6. Squad number17Player nameVargas

  7. Squad number4Player nameElvedi

  8. Squad number7Player nameEmbolo

  9. Squad number3Player nameWidmer

  10. Squad number25Player nameRieder

  11. Squad number11Player nameSteffen

  12. Squad number9Player nameSeferovic

  13. Squad number15Player nameSow

  14. Squad number2Player nameFernandes

  15. Squad number14Player nameAebischer

  16. Squad number20Player nameFrei

Line-ups

Brazil

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 14Militão
  • 4Marquinhos
  • 3Thiago Silva
  • 6Alex SandroSubstituted forAlex Tellesat 86′minutes
  • 8FredBooked at 52minsSubstituted forBruno Guimarãesat 58′minutes
  • 5Casemiro
  • 7Lucas PaquetáSubstituted forRodrygoat 45′minutes
  • 11RaphinhaSubstituted forAntonyat 73′minutes
  • 9RicharlisonSubstituted forGabriel Jesusat 73′minutes
  • 20Vinícius Júnior

Substitutes

  • 12Weverton
  • 13Alves da Silva
  • 15Fabinho
  • 16Alex Telles
  • 17Bruno Guimarães
  • 18Gabriel Jesus
  • 19Antony
  • 21Rodrygo
  • 22Éverton Ribeiro
  • 23Ederson
  • 24Bremer
  • 25Pedro
  • 26Martinelli

Switzerland

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Sommer
  • 3WidmerSubstituted forFreiat 86′minutes
  • 5Akanji
  • 4Elvedi
  • 13Rodríguez
  • 8Freuler
  • 10Xhaka
  • 25RiederBooked at 50minsSubstituted forSteffenat 59′minutes
  • 15SowSubstituted forAebischerat 76′minutes
  • 17VargasSubstituted forFernandesat 59′minutes
  • 7EmboloSubstituted forSeferovicat 76′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Fernandes
  • 6Zakaria
  • 9Seferovic
  • 11Steffen
  • 12Omlin
  • 14Aebischer
  • 16Fassnacht
  • 18Cömert
  • 20Frei
  • 21Kobel
  • 22Schär
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 24Köhn
  • 26Jashari

Referee:
Iván Arcides Barton Cisneros

Attendance:
43,649

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