Portugal has advanced to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup after a spirited 2-0 victory over Uruguay gave them a ticket to the last 16. As a result, they have now lost just one of their previous fourteen FWC group-stage games.
A tight first period between the two teams was largely overshadowed by some tenacious Uruguayan defense.
Despite William Carvalho’s best efforts, who thundered a volley just past the bar, there weren’t many opportunities in the first 30 minutes. Neither goalie was called into any noteworthy action.
Rodrigo Bentancur nearly took full advantage of his reprieve when he wriggled through the Portuguese back line, but a deft stop from Diogo Costa stopped the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder. Bentancur may have been fortunate to still be on the field after a series of fouls after already receiving a booking.
When Portugal ramped up their efforts after the interval and scored within ten minutes of the resumption, Costa’s save turned out to be even more significant.
The effervescent Cristiano Ronaldo thought he had equaled Eusébio’s Portuguese record of nine FWC goals by adding the deftest of touches, but he failed to make contact and the goal was awarded to his former Manchester United teammate. Bruno Fernandes was given too much space on the edge of the area, and after he clipped a lovely ball into the area, Ronaldo thought he had equaled Eusébio’s record of nine FWC goals.
With just under 20 minutes left, Luis Suárez was substituted. Uruguay may have missed his experience and cunning, but it was another replacement, Maxi Gómez, who came the closest to scoring a leveler right away, his shot slamming off the crossbar.
After Fernandes extended their lead from the penalty spot in stoppage time, Portugal played the rest of the match rather effectively and added some gloss to the outcome, leaving them needing just a point from their last group stage match against South Korea to secure first place in Group H.
La Celeste must defeat Ghana in their final game to have any chance of moving on since Uruguay’s campaign is in danger.
Casemiro Struck Late to Hand Brazil Crucial Victory
Brazil defeated Switzerland 1-0 in Group G of the FIFA World Cup (FWC) thanks to Casemiro’s late goal, making the Seleço the first team to be unbeaten in 17 straight World Cup group stage games and earning a ticket in the Round of 16.
Brazil and Switzerland both won their initial Group G matches, so whoever prevailed in this encounter would guarantee an early exit to the FWC knockout rounds. Early on, there was mutual respect between the two teams, with Brazil may be concerned about a team they had lost to in their last two competitive encounters, including a 1-1 tie in the competition’s previous season four years prior.
The South American team was the first to apply pressure, and when Raphinha’s whipped cross from the right wing fell perfectly at Vinicius Junior’s feet six yards out, the confidence of a team that had scored 28 goals in their last eight victories soon became apparent.
The attacker, though, was only able to scuff his shot straight at Yann Sommer. While Brazil had possession and even appeared dangerous when Ruben Vargas got space in the area, Switzerland remained steadfast and Alisson was quick to react and avoid any danger.
After the half, Brazil regained control of the match. Vincius Jnior appeared to have given Brazil the lead in the 64th minute when he threw the ball past Sommer while dodging the tumbling Nico Elvedi, but VAR disallowed the goal because of offside in the build-up.
Lacking the energy that Neymar so frequently brought, Brazil needed a stroke of genius to finally stun the weary Swiss defense. With seven minutes of the game remaining, Rodrygo flicked the ball to Casemiro inside the box, and the midfielder slammed an unstoppable half-volley into the top corner with a slight deflection off Manuel Akanji.
Brazil earned three points thanks to a late display of excellence as Tite’s team pursues a sixth FWC championship. Brazil can now unwind ahead of their last encounter against Cameroon.
The hard work Switzerland put into their defense, though, was ultimately for naught. They are still in charge of their own fate, though, and as long as Brazil don’t lose to the Indomitable Lions, they will advance with a point against Serbia.