Casemiro scores as Brazil beat Switzerland 1-0 and reach the round of 16



A Brazilian side lacking spark without an injured Neymar needed a late volley from Casemiro to beat Switzerland 1-0 on Monday to secure the five-time champions their place in the tournament. Globalism Round of 16 Cup with one game to go.

The Brazilians were frustrated by a tenacious Swiss side at Doha Stadium 974 and it looked as if they would have to settle for a point after Vinicius Junior’s second-half goal was ruled out for offside after a VAR check.

But then, with seven minutes remaining, Bruno Guimaraes curled the ball into Casemiro just inside the penalty area, and the Manchester United midfielder fired home with the help of a slight but significant deflection off Manuel Akanji.

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Tite’s side are the second team to qualify for the last 16 after France and the only team apart from the defending champions to have won both group matches so far in Qatar.

With six points, they will tend to rest players for their final Group G match against Cameroon on Friday, when a draw guarantees them top spot.

Switzerland, meanwhile, failed to muster a shot on target but remained on course to qualify as well, with a 3-3 draw between Serbia and Cameroon earlier meaning a win against the Serbs would send Murat Yakin’s side through and a draw might also be enough.

They are used to playing at least the first knockout round in major tournaments, while Brazil are in Qatar to win their sixth World Cup and nothing less will do.

The Silicao have always missed Neymar, though coach Tite said he was confident the Paris Saint-Germain star would recover from his ankle injury to once again play a part in the finals.

After Richarlison’s side made the difference in their opening win over Serbia, it was a reminder to the Brazilians of the power of depth in the European game.

Four years ago, before Belgium left in the quarter-finals, they were also occupied by Switzerland in the group stage.

Fred in Neymar’s place

So Yaqen’s team had no reason to fear Brazil, who brought Manchester United midfielder Fred into their squad instead of Neymar.

As a result, they were lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Fred and Lucas Paqueta on either side of Casemiro, while Eder Militao – who is usually a centre-back for Real Madrid – stood with the injured Danilo on the right-back.

There were only flashes of what Brazil could do in a frustrating first half, as the loudest cheers came from the yellow-and-green crowd of fans in the stands when the big screen showed two-time World Cup-winning striker Ronaldo in the stands.

Vinicius had the best chance of the opening period when he connected on a Rafinha cross at the back post in the 27th minute, but Jan Sommer turned the Real Madrid winger’s effort behind him.

Switzerland was without one of its main creative sparks in Xherdan Shaqiri, who was lost due to an apparent hip problem and replaced by Fabian Rieder.

Tite’s dissatisfaction with Brazil’s first-half performance was evident when he tied up Paqueta in the first half and sent it on to Rodrygo.

The 21-year-old came on when Brazil thought they had taken the lead on the hour mark, helping to gain the ball in midfield before Casemiro released Vinicius to beat Sommer.

But the celebrations were halted when the goal against Richarlison was disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for offside.

Tite turned to the bench and fielded more fresh attackers in Gabriel Jesus and Anthony, but a goal finally arrived from one of the less unlikely sources in Casemiro and handed Brazil a deserved victory.

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