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Brazil win as Casemiro breaks Swiss block

A late goal from Casemiro has put Brazil into the knock-out stages of the World Cup, securing a 1-0 win against a dogged Switzerland side in the World Cup.

November 29, 2022
By Glenn Moore
29 November 2022

Casemiro has proved to be Brazil’s unlikely hero after they struggled to cope with the absence of Neymar against a stubborn Swiss side in Doha.

The Manchester United midfielder scored in the 83rd minute of the group G match to send the five-times winners into the knock-out stages of the World Cup.

Casemiro’s volley, though sweetly struck, took a slight deflection of the backside of Manchester City’s Manuel Akanji.

It was the slice of fortune Brazil needed to beat Yann Sommer and join France as the first two sides confirmed in the last 16.

Barring a Cameroon over Brazil in their final match the Swiss will also progress with a draw in their final match against Serbia. 

Their coach Murat Yakin had brought in Fabian Rieder for his full debut, replacing Xherdan Shaqiri while Brazil had made two changes, both enforced by injury.

Defender Eder Militao replaced Danilo, who broke ribs in training, and, more significantly, midfielder Fred came in for Neymar with Lucas Paqueta moving further forward. 

The absence of Neymar, who suffered ankle bruising during the 2-0 win over Serbia, and remained in the team hotel having treatment, had inevitably raised the issue of how Brazil could cope without him. 

Given their glittering roster that seemed a daft question even if their win rate since the last World Cup was 81 per cent with the Paris St Germain striker, 63 per cent without. 

But on the evidence of the first half it was a valid question. Brazil did not have a shot until the 27th minute, their slowest start to a World Cup match since facing Cameroon in 1994 (when they went on to win the competition).

It fell to Vinicius Jr, coming in from the left to attack a crossfield ball from Raphinha. But the Real Madrid forward appeared to misjudge the flight and met the cross with his knee, enabling Sommer to parry.

Seeking victory coach Tite rang the changes.

At the break Rodrygo replaced Paqueta. On the hour Bruno Guimaraes came on, then Gabriel Jesus and Antony.

But as the last 15 approached Brazil had only got through twice. Richarlison just failed to reach an outside-of-the-boot cross by Rodrygo then Vinicius Jr rolled in a fine goal only for an offside earlier in the move to rule it out.

At the other end the Swiss had a series of blocked with Djibril Sow, twice, Ruben Vargas and Edimilson Fernandes all denied.

Switzerland had drawn with Brazil in their previous two World Cup games, in 1950 and 2018, and a third stalemate loomed.

Then came Casemiro’s intervention extending to 17 matches, dating back to 1998, Brazil’s unbeaten run in World Cup group matches.

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