World Cup Group G: Casemiro’s stunner wins it for Brazil over Switzerland

Casemiro Brazil Switzerland World Cup
Brazil’s Casemiro celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Brazil and Switzerland, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Brazil might have been without its talisman in Neymar, which at times hindered its attacking menace, but it still found a way to pass its toughest test of the group stage at the World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Switzerland on Monday at 974 Stadium.

Casemiro provided the ultimate relief for what had been an outing of frustration, nabbing the winner in the 83rd minute with a brilliant half-volley stunner from the left side of the box that whizzed in just inside the right post, leaving Swiss keeper Yann Sommer rooted to his spot in awe. The victory ensures Brazil is through to the Round of 16 for a 14th consecutive World Cup while moving three points clear at the top of Group G.

It was a just reward for a match in which Brazil’s usual free-flowing, expressive style was somewhat muted thanks to a resolute and well-organized defense that gave Switzerland — ranked 15th in the world by FIFA — absolutely nothing to work with.

Brazil outshot Switzerland 8-4 on Tuesday, but the latter did not see a single one of its attempts go on target to test world-class keeper Alisson. Half of those attempts came from within the penalty area as real estate within dangerous areas was more than scarce for the Swiss.

It was Vinicius Jr. of Brazil that had the best chance of the first half when a cross from the right by Raphinha found him at the left of the Swiss box. Directing a tame shot with his first touch while sliding toward the near post, but goalkeeper Yann Sommer managed to fight it off. 

Vinicius Jr. nearly found Richarlison, who scored twice in Brazil’s win over 2-0 win over Serbia, in the 56th minute with a cross from the left, but the Tottenham attacker couldn’t get a lunging foot on it.

To heap even more frustration on the Real Madrid star, he had a goal wiped away in the 64th minute due to an offside ruled by VAR. 

Just seven minutes from time, a moment of inspiration ultimately lifted the Brazilians to all three points when Vinicius Jr. on the left flank fed Rodrygo just outside the Swiss box. He flicked it on to Casemiro, who let it bounce once before swinging a right-footed showstopper into the back of the net to cue Brazilian celebrations and book its passage to the Round of 16 with one more group stage match to play against Cameroon.

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