In order to defeat Switzerland 1-0 on Monday and advance to the World Cup’s last 16 with one game remaining, Brazil, who was playing without injured star Neymar, needed a goal from Casemiro late in the game. At Doha’s Stadium 974, the stubborn Swiss team had vexed the Brazilians, and it appeared as though they would have to settle for a point when a Vinicius Junior goal in the second half was ruled out for offside after a VAR review. But with seven minutes left, Casemiro of Manchester United received a flick from Bruno Guimaraes well inside the box, and his volley found the back of the net thanks to a little but crucial deflection from Manuel Akanji.
Only France and Tite’s team have advanced to the round of 16, and they are the only team other than the defending champions to have won both of their group games in Qatar thus far. With six points, they may be tempted to rest several players for their Friday match against Cameroon, which would guarantee them first place with a tie.
While Switzerland failed to register a shot on goal, they are still in position to advance because of the earlier 3-3 draw between Serbia and Cameroon. Murat Yakin’s team needs to defeat the Serbians in order to advance, but a draw may also be enough. While Brazil is in Qatar, they have a history of making it at least as far as the first round of major competitions. The Paris Saint-Germain star was always going to be missed by the Selecao, but coach Tite is optimistic that Neymar will recover from his ankle injury in time to participate in the finals.
The Brazilians were reminded of the depth of the European game after Richarlison’s talent made the difference in their opening victory over Serbia. They were held by Switzerland in the group stage four years ago, and then Belgium eliminated them in the quarterfinals.