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How Brazil (It Lost) and Switzerland (It Won) Advanced to the World Cup Knockout Round


Nov. 28, 2022, 1:00 p.m. ET

Nov. 28, 2022, 1:00 p.m. ET

DOHA, Qatar — Brazil’s problem, ultimately, was not a lot that Neymar missed his country’s second game on the World Cup. Brazil still had loads of scoring options, in spite of everything, arguably greater than every other team within the tournament. But the foundations of soccer require that the ball actually goes into the web to count, and thru 82 agonizing and frustrating minutes Brazil’s array of attacking talent simply couldn’t make that occur.

Richarlison sent a shot wide. Raphinha probed the fitting side. Vinícius Júnior had a goal disallowed for offside. Rodrygo got here on, after which so did Bruno Guimaraes and Antony and Gabriel Jesus. Nothing.

Credit…Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press

So with a complete nation methodically reducing its supply of fingernails, it was a sturdy veteran midfielder, Casemiro, who strolled up from his position deep in midfield and did the job himself. The goal he delivered, a slicing outside-of-the-foot shot, was special, and it was the just one Brazil would rating in its 1-0 victory against Switzerland. But it surely was enough to clinch a spot within the knockout stages with a game to spare, and for a rustic whose first priority is to win — nonetheless the job gets done — nobody in Brazil was complaining about who had scored it.

“In fact we miss a player like Neymar,” Brazil Coach Tite said. “The team loses so much without him. But we also produce other players who can get the job done, as we saw it today.”

Switzerland can have to be high quality with the result, too. It had throttled and frustrated Brazil all night, and it may still advance to the knockout rounds with a win or a tie against Serbia in its final game of the group stage. But it surely didn’t produce a single shot on the right track on Monday, and it was perhaps fortunate to have been in a scoreless game so near its end.

The Swiss had even fallen behind at one point, on a composed finish by Vinícius Júnior behind the Swiss back line within the sixty fourth minute. But Brazil had been offside within the buildup to the goal, so the video assistant referee called it back. The sport remained scoreless, but not for a scarcity of trying.

Tite was already actively on the lookout for solutions by then. Rodrygo had just replaced Fred, the midfielder who had taken the place of the injured Neymar (ankle) in Brazil’s lineup, and over the subsequent 10 minutes three more attackers tagged in and went on the hunt.

“We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy — we needed to be patient,” Casemiro said. “Our first objective was to advance, and we achieved that.”

Casemiro’s goal, when it finally got here, was one to recollect. It was off his foot so fast, and was so well-placed, that the Swiss goalkeeper could only watch it pass like a person admiring a bullet train from the platform. But it surely did the job, which was greater than Brazil’s forwards could say on Monday.

Neymar, who missed Monday’s game with a swollen ankle sustained in Brazil’s opener, can be back soon enough. When he returns, he can be fortunate to attain a goal nearly as good because the one which, on Monday, almost didn’t come.

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