Brazil booked their place in the last 16 as they overcame a resolute Switzerland side courtesy of a late winner from Manchester United midfielder Casemiro in their second group H outing.
Both sides came into the game with three points, courtesy of wins over Serbia and Cameroon respectively, and knew that after those two sides shared the spoils earlier in the day that a win would take either side through, but that a draw would leave both in a strong position too.
And it seemed that, for the Swiss, that was the goal, while Tite’s decision to replace the injured Neymar with Fred also suggested a more conservative approach.
In Neymar’s absence, it was Vinicius jr that harboured most of the hopes of his nation, and the Real Madrid man went close in the first half before seeing an opening goal ruled out for an offside in the build-up on the part of Richarlison.
The game seemed to be heading for a stalemate, however, until a piece of brilliance from Manchester United man Casemiro broke the deadlock late on, the midfielder crashing home a thundering volley with ten minutes to play and snatching all three points, confirming Brazil’s qualification in the process.
It means that Switzerland will need to avoid defeat to Serbia to have a chance of qualifying for the last 16, though should Cameroon beat Brazil they would need to win or risk it coming down to goal difference.
- GK: Alisson (6) - Didn’t have much to do and, bar one shaky moment with his feet, enjoyed an uneventful outing.
- RB: Eder Militao (7) - Didn’t look a bit out of place at right-back and was solid on the ball too.
- CB: Marquinhos (7) - Wasn’t really tested but moved the ball well and was excellent when called upon.
- CB: Thiago Silva (7) - Continues to ooze class at the ripe age of 38, and turned in another top performance at the heart of the Brazilian defence.
- LB: Alex Sandro (6) - Made an excellent block to deny a certain goal in the second half, but left plenty of space for the Swiss wingers to run in behind him and it looked the most likely avenue for a goal.
- CDM: Casemiro (8) - Left alone to do the dirty work in the Brazil midfield and did it well. Capped it off with a lovely goal.
- CM: Fred (5) - Struggled for much of the game in his more advanced role.
- CM: Lucas Paqueta (5) - Couldn’t make an impact on the game and was substituted at half-time.
- RW: Raphinha (4) - Had no impact on the game whatsoever.
- ST: Richarlison (5) - Never really came close to scoring on a night where Brazil’s frontline stuttered.
- LW: Vinicius Junior (7) - Had the best chance of the first half but fluffed his lines. Made amends in the second half with a calm finish to hand his side the lead
- Rodrygo (7) - Wasn’t particularly eye-catching but did well to knit play together for the Selecao.;
- Bruno Guimaraes (6) - Brighter than Fred and offered more without finding any end product.
- Gabriel Jesus (5) - Did nothing to suggest he meritted a start over Richarlison.
- Antony (7) - Was a livewire when he came on and offered far more threat than Raphinha, who he replaced.
- Alex Telles (N/A) - Came on for the final 5 minutes.
- GK: Yann Sommer (6) - Dealt with everything that came his way but was largely untested until the goal, which he could do nothing about.
- RB: Silvan Widmer (7) - Kept Vinicus Jr quiet as much as possible, by legitimate or illegitimate means.
- CB: Manuel Akanji (7) - Played well to keep Brazil at bay, but could do nothing about the deflected effort that flew off him and past his goalkeeper.
- CB: Nico Elvedi (6) - Caught out somewhat by the disallowed goal
- LB: Ricardo Rodríguez (7) - Offered Raphinha absolutely nothing, though he was not really tested by the Barcelona man.
- CM: Remo Freuler (7) - Looked more comfortable in a flat midfield trio than he did against Cameroon.
- CM: Granit Xhaka (7) - Played a deeper role than he does for Arsenal, but helped nullify the Brazilian midfield well.
- CM: Djibril Sow (7) - Worked well in tandem with Xhaka and Freuler in the middle of the pitch.
- CM: Fabian Rieder (6) - Looked tidy on his full World Cup debut, and helped contain Vinicius Junior well.
- ST: Rúben Vargas (5) - Didn’t see much of the ball and couldn’t really make an impact.
- ST: Breel Embolo (5) - Had a quiet night and couldn’t get any change out of the Brazilian centre-backs
- Renato Steffen (5) - Hardly saw the ball when coming on.
- Edmilson Fernandes (4) - Was sloppy when he came on.
- Haris Seferovic (5) - Offered a focal point but was rarely used.
- Fabian Frei (5) - Came on late in the piece and couldn’t change the outcome.