Looking to secure passage to the last 16, Brazil took on a resilient Switzerland in their second 2022 FIFA World Cup Group G fixture on Monday evening (28 November). Brazil were made to work for it at the Stadium 974 but ultimately came away with maximum points, securing a 1-0 win. Casemiro scored the game’s only goal to take his team to the round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Brazil endured a slow start to the game. Switzerland marked them tightly in the opening exchanges, keeping them from stringing passes together.
The Selecao finally managed to stretch their legs in the 12th minute, with Richarlison getting some room down the right flank. The Tottenham Hotspur man looked to cut the ball back for Vinicius Junior inside the box but saw his pass intercepted by Nico Elvedi. A minute later, an excellent passage of one-touch play saw Richarlison get through on goal. The former Everton man, however, failed to bring the ball under his control and sent it behind for a goal kick.
In the 26th minute, Raphinha brilliantly picked out Vinicius Junior’s run on the left side. The Real Madrid man could not make clean contact with the delivery, allowing Swiss keeper Yann Sommer to push it behind for a corner.
Switzerland created their first clear-cut opportunity of the evening in the 39th minute. Ricardo Rodriguez dashed down the left flank and swung in a cross for Ruben Vargas. Vargas pulled off a neat turn to get away from Eder Militao, but could not get his shot away.
Switzerland started the second half right where they left off in the first. Silvan Widmer drilled in a low cross at the near post for Fabian Rieder. The winger made contact but could not take the ball past Alisson.
In the 64th minute, Casemiro played Vinicius Junior down the left flank, and the winger brilliantly held his cool to find the back of the net. Unfortunately for Tite’s men, Richarlison was caught offside in the build-up, causing the goal to be ruled out. Nineteen minutes later, Brazil once again found the back of the net, and that time, the goal stood.
Manchester United ace Casemiro dispatched a stunning half-volley from the left side of the box. It took a lucky deflection on its way into the back of the net. A few minutes later, Rodrygo impressively engineered a yard of space inside the Swiss box and went for goal. Sommer smartly pushed it over the bar.
Brazil tried to add to their one-goal lead in the closing minutes, but the Swiss held firm to restrict the five-time FIFA World Cup winners to a narrow 1-0 victory. Here are three Brazilian players who impressed and two who were not up to the mark in their victory over the Swiss on Monday:
Performed: Vinicius Junior
Vinicius Junior was not at his brilliant best against Switzerland, but he was most definitely Brazil's most ambitious player on the pitch. He took players on, beating them quite a few times. He created goalscoring opportunities and helped out at the back as well. Had Vinicius Junior finished the chance in the 26th minute, he would have had a practically perfect outing.
Vinicius Junior played two key passes against the Swiss, created one big chance, and won seven ground duels. He also drew a game-high five fouls, made two tackles, and blocked a shot.
Richarlison made headlines by scoring two excellent goals in Selecao’s 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Serbia. The Spurs ace could not pick up where he left off against Serbia, struggling to get into the game. Unlike in the match against Serbia, Richarlison looked a smidgen slower than the opposition, failing to get to the end of two excellent deliveries in the first half.
On Monday evening, Richarlison failed to lodge any shots on target, completed only three passes in 73 minutes, and was caught offside once. He also lost a duel, lost possession eight times, and failed to pull off the only dribble he attempted.
Performed: Alex Sandro
Left-back Alex Sandro was rock-solid at the back for the Selecao on Monday evening. The Juventus man impressed with his distribution, made full use of his defensive acumen to sniff out the danger, and held his ground in one-on-one battles.
At Stadium 974, Sandro attempted a match-high seven tackles, winning three of them. He made 11 recoveries, completed 54 passes (88.5% accuracy), and won 10 of 11 ground duels. Sandro also drew two fouls, completed a dribble, and played a key pass.
Underperformed: Lucas Paqueta
Lucas Paqueta started alongside Fred and Casemiro in a three-man midfield. The West Ham United midfielder failed to put his best foot forward, struggling to stretch the game with his long balls and losing possession quite a few times.
Paqueta lost possession 12 times, misplaced a cross and a long ball; and lost both of his ground duels in Brazil's second FIFA World Cup game in Qatar. Not impressed with his performance, Tite opted for a change of shape, taking him off for Rodrygo at halftime.
Manchester United’s holding midfielder Casemiro had a game to remember on Monday evening. He dictated the game in the middle of the park, made some vital defensive interceptions, and, of course, scored the winner in the 83rd minute.
Receiving a neat pass from Rodrygo, Casemiro improvised the shot on the fly, dispatching a mesmerizing half-volley to leave Sommer rooted to his spot. Casemiro also would have had an assist to his name had Vinicius Junior’s goal not been ruled out for offside.
In Brazil’s second FIFA World Cup game in Qatar, Casemiro made four interceptions, completed 41 passes (85.4% accuracy), and accurately delivered two long balls. He also won a ground duel, attempted a tackle, and blocked a shot.