Like France, Brazil now have six points, securing them a place in the last 16 with a game in hand. Switzerland is second in the group, three points ahead of Cameroon and Serbia, both of which are 1 point.
In a tight match at Stadium 974, it cost Brazil a late goal Casemiro for victory against a stubborn Swiss side. Midfielder Casemiro scored the only goal for the five-time champions in the 83rd minute in a stunning finish.
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Doha’s Stadium 974 thumped to the samba beat as Brazilian fans brought Latin American swagger to this slice of Qatar. The sea of Brazilian fans don’t care about about 80 minutes of sloppy passing and directionless play that was forgotten in the hysteria of the final minutes.
Tens of thousands of yellow shirts had painted the inside of this quirky stadium bright yellow in a canary frieze, interrupted only by small groups of local fans in traditional white robes and a pair of red Swiss shirts.
It was hard to believe that this was a game played in the Arabian Peninsula, as it had all the hallmarks of a home game for the Brazilians – from the thunderous roar that accompanied every fantasy move to the rhythmic beat that was drummed throughout.
But if the supporters had planned a party, the football student might have suspected otherwise. The two previous World Cup meetings between these two sides had ended in a draw: 2-2 in 1950 and 1-1 in 2018.
The Brazilians had won a total of only three of their nine meetings with Switzerland, with four draws and two losses.
This Monday night showdown seemed to be heading for another stalemate for Casemiro’s moment of pure magic.
As Brazil grew more and more desperate, substitute Rodrygo made a first play at half-time for Casemiro, who hit him with the outside of his foot and the ball slid – in time-honoured Brazilian fashion – past Yann Sommer into the goal, as the Swiss looked on in horror how it bulged out the side of the inside of its target.
While Rodrygo provided the assist, Casemiro and Brazil are indebted to Vinicius Jr in front of goal – Brazil’s newest superstar had drawn in three increasingly desperate defenders, opening up space in front of goal.
Overwhelmed by a brutal moment of Brazilian brilliance, the Swiss collapsed and could very well have ended the game 2-0 or 3-0, but that would have been overly harsh on the Europeans, who largely stunned their opponents.
However, the Swiss can take heart from their performance and a win against Serbia in their final group game will send them through alongside Brazil, and a draw could even be enough.
(With input from agencies)