6.6 C
New York
Thursday, March 30, 2023

Buy now

Casimir stunner ends Switzerland’s resistance to fire Brazil into last 16

Brazil strolled through Doha’s Souq Waqif to warm up for the game. Although they were unharmed and their wallets were largely unharmed, Switzerland didn’t prove to be as kind as the market traders in Qatar and for a while here threatened to strip Tite’s team of their invincibility cloak.

The pre-tournament favorites advanced to the knockout rounds thanks to Casemiro’s beautiful 83rd-minute half-volley, but much of the action highlighted the reason why the pre-match attention had been focused on a man who would never take the field.

Because of his far-right political views and enormous ego, Neymar splits opinion in Brazil, but a well-drilled Switzerland showed ample proof of his significance. It would not be an overstatement to suggest that his absence due to an ankle injury was felt profoundly.

Initially, Brazil’s coach tried to make up for the absence of his attacking talisman by moving Lucas Paquetá from midfield into the front three, with Fred joining Casemiro and his Manchester United teammate further back. To suggest that Fred’s impact was minor is not too harsh. Switzerland has the best defense, according to Tite. And Neymar is missed.

Switzerland led by Murat Yakin arrived at Stadium 974 a little bit later than expected due to a minor traffic incident. As traffic near the ground slowed to a crawl, it appears that the driver of their team bus allowed his attention to wander and ended up colliding into the back of the police escort car in front. The car following the coach at the moment of the crash was unable to halt in time to avoid contributing to the pileup.

Thankfully, no one was wounded, and to Brazil’s dismay, Switzerland’s driver’s excellently sustained concentration stood in stark contrast to its own. The tone was set when Silvan Widmer, the right back, abruptly stopped an irritated Vinicius Junior in his tracks. Such unassuming Swiss interruptions would develop into a pattern.

Brazil did display some beautiful glimpses of one- and two-touch football that was swift, fluid, innovative, and occasionally brilliantly improvised, but their final ball lacked penetration against opponents who were seated deep. To play on the counter-attack, Yakin’s well-organized team was set up, and Casemiro was fortunate to avoid getting booked when he caught the speeding Breel Embolo from behind.

Neymar seemed to be becoming increasingly valuable to Brazil with each passing minute. Notably, it had been close to thirty minutes before Yann Sommer produced a save.

When that opportunity did present itself, courtesy of Raphinha’s left-footed, right-wing cross, Switzerland’s goalkeeper proved up to the task by parrying a slightly scuffed half-volley from the unmarked Vinicius Junior.

The fact that it was Brazil’s first attempt at a goal shows how difficult it is for them to turn possession into opportunities. Sommer could not have anticipated being so uninvolved. Was history going to repeat itself, and were two nations prepared to accomplish a statistical trifecta after drawing both of their previous World Cup meetings—in 1950 and 2018—?

Paquetá was replaced by Rodrygo of Real Madrid, a forward who many Brazilian supporters felt should have initially filled in for Neymar, and did not return for the second half. However, Switzerland came close to scoring when Widmer’s cross led in Vinicius Junior denying Djibril Sow’s goal-bound attempt before the soon-to-be influential Rodrygo had a chance to get going.

The time for change had come, so Tite made the appropriate adjustments to his midfield, substituting Newcastle’s Bruno Guimares for Fred. Bruno’s passing and movement immediately improved the mood of the heavily Brazil-supporting crowd and posed questions to Switzerland that they were occasionally unable to respond to.

The sequence of events that resulted in Vinicius Junior receiving Casemiro’s pass, overcoming Nico Elvedi’s challenge, and squeezing the ball just inside a post with Sommer beaten was set in motion by a pass from Guimares, albeit one that was slightly overhit.

The entire Brazilian bench rushed to the sidelines to celebrate, but a VAR review ended the celebration when it found that Richarlison, who substituted for Casemiro, was offside. After playing a crucial role in Serbia’s last-week defeat,

Richarlison was pushed to the sidelines by a Swiss defense that was further fortified by the reassuring central midfield presence of Granit Xhaka.

Brazil, though, progressively strained Yakin’s defensive elastic as the game went on. When Casemiro received a pass from Rodrygo, he put his right foot on the ball and sent a half-volley curving toward the goal, leaving Sommer powerless and misplaced. Sommer may have been fooled by the slightest of deflections from Manuel Akanji.

By the time the game was through, Switzerland had only taken six shots, none of which were on goal. Alisson hadn’t had to perform a single save. Was Yakin correct to fire Xherdan Shaqiri, who was so frequently his inspiration? It wouldn’t be shocking to see the winger make a comeback against Serbia in the final group match as his team looks to join Brazil and, hopefully, Neymar in the round of 16.

Casemiro is regarded as the invisible man because he serves as Tite’s often underappreciated midfield anchor, but after a long, arduous night by the Arabian Sea, he finally made up for the absence of the man who wasn’t there.

Casimiro is the element of surprise, according to Brazil’s jubilant manager. He enters through the back. Although Neymar has great creative ability, other players are catching up.

Paquetá was replaced by Rodrygo of Real Madrid, a forward who many Brazilian supporters felt should have initially filled in for Neymar, and did not return for the second half. However, Switzerland came close to scoring when Widmer’s cross led in Vinicius Junior denying Djibril Sow’s goal-bound attempt before the soon-to-be influential Rodrygo had a chance to get going.

The time for change had come, so Tite made the appropriate adjustments to his midfield, substituting Newcastle’s Bruno Guimares for Fred. Bruno’s passing and movement immediately improved the mood of the heavily Brazil-supporting crowd and posed questions to Switzerland that they were occasionally unable to respond to.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

0FansLike
3,757FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles