Doha, Nov 28 (EFE).- Brazil struggled to break down Switzerland’s well-organized defense for most of their World Cup Group G contest on Monday, but a goal by Casemiro with time winding down in the second half gave his side a 1-0 victory and a berth in the tournament’s knockout stage.
With star forward Neymar Jr. out with an ankle injury, Brazil turned to Raphinha and Vinicius Junior for a spark at Stadium 974 in Doha.
The FC Barcelona winger lacked some precision on his passes, but he was responsible for most of the Seleção’s highlights in the first half, including setting up a golden chance for Vinicius at around the half-hour mark that the Real Madrid winger was unable to convert.
Switzerland, meanwhile, were more offensive-minded than Serbia, Brazil’s opponent in their opening round-robin match last week, battling the five-time champions for possession and even controlling the match during short stretches.
After a scoreless first half, Brazilian head coach Tite tried to inject some more offense by substituting forward Rodrygo for midfielder Lucas Paqueta.
The move appeared to pay off 20 minutes later in a three-man play featuring Rodrygo, Casemiro and Vinicius, who booted the ball inside the far post for what seemed to be the opening goal.
It was disallowed, however, for offside in the buildup and the game remained 0-0.
As the game entered the final stretch, Tite looked for more answers by sending on Gabriel Jesus and Antony for Richarlison and Raphinha.
But while Brazil’s forwards were unable to finish in the final third, defensive midfielder Casemiro stepped up to produce some individual heroics of his own.
In the 83rd minute, the Manchester United superstar received a nifty pass from Rodrygo and rifled a one-touch half-volley inside the far post that left Swiss goalie Yann Sommer frozen in place.
Brazil will play one final round-robin match against Cameroon on Friday in the Qatari coastal city of Lusail, while Switzerland are in the driver’s seat for a knockout stage berth and will likely secure that spot with a win or draw against Serbia at Stadium 974 that same day. EFE