A late Casemiro strike saw Brazil book their passage through to the knockout stage of the World Cup as they snatched a 1-0 victory over Switzerland at Stadium 974.
Having lost star forward Neymar to injury during their opening win against Serbia, the Selecao had been forced into a tactical reshuffle for their second match at Qatar 2022.
Despite a front three of Vinicius Junior, Richarlison and Raphinha, Tite’s side ultimately needed veteran midfielder Casemiro to see them through without their talisman in a tight Group G encounter.
Victory in Doha means Brazil join defending champions France in the last 16, though defeat for Switzerland still leaves them in second place, with their fate in their own hands.
Operating with a wide offensive approach, Brazil had frequently harried their opponents but seldom left Yann Sommer seriously troubled between the posts before the interval.
An increase in tempo after the break brought sharper opportunities, with Breel Embolo tormenting Alisson after a blocked clearance and Richarlison agonisingly close to a looping Vinicius ball.
The latter looked to have put Brazil on top after a Swiss defensive lapse just after the hour mark, only for VAR to chalk his neat finish off for an offside call against team-mate Richarlison.
But Casemiro struck in the 83rd minute, catching a Rodrygo ball on the half-volley to leave a bulging mark in the net and keep the Selecao on course in their pursuit of a first World Cup triumph for two decades.
What does it mean? Brazil set World Cup record
With their win, the Selecao have set another historic feat in this tournament, notching up their 17th unbeaten match in a row in the tournament group stage in a run stretching back to 1998.
You have got to go all the way back to 1966 to find the last time Brazil did not get out of the opening act of the competition – and though it may not have been pretty, Tite will be delighted with progress secured.
Neymar’s absence casts shadows
Even without the Paris Saint-Germain star, there was more than enough talent to ignite a performance from Brazil – yet without his focal point in their attack, they spluttered throughout.
Vinicius was the most dangerous of their performers, but it was a chastening match for Richarlison and Raphinha, both of whom failed to show their best as they failed to find the net – legitimately – from their three combined shots.
Switzerland left to rue missed chance
Save Embolo causing Alisson a few headaches throughout, there was a hesitancy in attack too often from Murat Yakin’s men despite a healthy share of possession.
They had six shots, none on target, and while they will only need a point from their game against Serbia to proceed, they will need to figure out how to revive their attacking nous sooner rather than later.
Key Opta Facts:
– Brazil have beaten Switzerland at the World Cup for the first time, with each of the previous two meetings ending level.
– Switzerland failed to score in a game against Brazil for the first time since December 1980 (a 2-0 loss in a friendly), having scored exactly one goal in each of their previous six matches against them before today.
– Brazil have won their opening two games at a World Cup tournament for a 10th time and for the first time since 2010. This is the first time they have won their first two games at a World Cup tournament without conceding since 2006.
– The Selecao have won each of their past nine games in all competitions, with seven of those victories coming to nil.
– Casemiro’s goal (83rd minute) was Brazil’s latest ever winner in a World Cup game they have won 1-0.
Brazil and Switzerland will both wrap up their Group G campaigns on December 2, with simultaneous encounters against Cameroon and Serbia respectively.
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