Brazil marched on to the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar with a narrow 1-0 victory against Switzerland at the Stadium 974. Casemiro's half-volley in the 83rd minute proved to be the point of separation.
Both sides made a cautious start to the game and weren't willing to commit in numbers in the hope of not conceding a goal. However, Le Selecao nearly broke the deadlock in the 27th minute.
Raphinha played a delicious cross to pick out Vinicius Jr. at the far post. The Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer's instinctive reaction by going down and making the save denied the Real Madrid forward his first World Cup goal.
Ricardo Rodriguez stowed a low cross into the penalty box to pick out Ruben Vargas from the left flank. However, Alisson Becker collected the ball calmly after the forward took too many touches and was indecisive.
Switzerland kicked off the second half on a high but couldn't score. Brazil then missed an easy opening, with Richarlison failing to get a boot to a cross played by Vinicius Jr. against the run of play.
Vinicius thought he broke the deadlock in the 64th minute. However, Richarlison was deemed to be offside in the build-up following a successful Video Assistant Referee (VAR) intervention.
With seven minutes left on the clock, the ever-reliable Casemiro stepped up to drive his nation into the lead. He spiraled the half-volley into the far corner and beat Sommer, who was a mere spectator as the shot went in.
Tite's side failed to double their lead during injury time. Gabriel Jesus' sublime touch found substitute Rodrygo but his poor first touch helped Manuel Akanji win possession back for the Swiss.
Here's a look at five talking points from Brazil's second World Cup victory in 2022.
#5 Brazil's lack of creativity in the first half
Brazil headed into the game as clear favorites but failed to do justice to that tag by creating one clear-cut chance in the first half. Neymar's absence due to injury played a huge role too. Tite replaced the forward with Fred, who sat back with Casemiro in the midfield to allow others to bomb forward.
Only Raphinha was able to conjure an opportunity by whipping in a delightful cross to find Vinicius. It was a tame attacking display from Le Selecao in the opening half otherwise.
#4 Switzerland can take positives out of the game
Switzerland were undone by a spectacular strike from Casemiro in the second half. They were compact and rarely gave a moment of peace to the Brazilian forwards by closing them down.
Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler, who sat at the heart of the midfield, made countless runs to eliminate the threat of the opposition. They were unlucky to be part of the losing side.
#3 Hopes are high on Vinicius Jr.
Brazil fans were worried about the prospect of going into the game without their talisman Neymar. However, Vinicius Jr's display against Switzerland must arrive as a sweetener for them.
The Real Madrid forward gave right-back Silvan Widmer a tough time. Manuel Akanji was also tasked to mark the wide forward, who won numerous duels against the centre-back. He was unlucky to miss out on a goal and an assist.
#2 Switzerland need just a point in next game
Switzerland were clinging on to a point until Casemiro produced a magical strike out of nowhere. However, the European side's display was worthy of a point despite their shortcomings on Monday.
Murat Yakin will be focused on their next game against Serbia on December 2 to bag all three points and enter the knockout stages. The Swiss will require just one point to qualify should Brazil beat Cameroon during the final game week of the World Cup group stages.
As far as Switzerland are concerned, there's no need to press the panic button at all.
#1 Casemiro and clutch moments walk together
When Brazil found it hard to find the go-ahead goal, up stepped up Casemiro to produce yet another crucial goal. The defensive midfielder has often scored pivotal goals for his club and country over the last few years.
His goal and the overall display was worthy of a Man of the Match award. The Manchester United midfielder was in his groove in the defensive and offensive areas of the pitch. He made four interceptions and completed one key pass. Tite will be counting on him for the rest of the tournament.