A chaotic finish to the group stage sends Brazil and Switzerland to the knockout spherical.


The chaos that ruled the primary three days of World Cup group-stage finales didn’t bypass Group G on Friday a lot as churn across the periphery of its two matches, swooping in to trigger mayhem in torrents and spurts earlier than leaving as rapidly because it arrived.

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As Brazil’s reserves clashed with Cameroon, Serbia and Switzerland tussled for the group’s closing qualification spot. That match included a paroxysm of objectives — 5 in half-hour — after which a barren stretch that taunted each groups, another than one other.

When it was over, Switzerland had gained, 3-2, and superior to the knockout stage, the place it should face the Group H winner Portugal on Tuesday. The Swiss overcame a first-half deficit behind Breel Embolo’s equalizer simply earlier than halftime after which a decisive strike within the forty eighth minute by Remo Freuler.

As Serbia rued its missed alternative — its subsequent look within the Spherical of 16 as an unbiased nation might be its first — the Swiss celebrated a 3rd consecutive journey to the knockout spherical. They’ve grow to be an everyday presence there, although not fairly as a lot as Brazil, which tends to ahead its mail there each 4 years.

Its match towards Cameroon bordered on anticlimax. Already certified, Brazil was going to high Group G barring a zany flip of occasions, which wasn’t completely out of the realm of risk. So its supervisor, Tite, rested 9 starters — from Richarlison to Thiago Silva, Casemiro to Vinicius Junior — and performed solely two regulars, Fred and Eder Militao. It was not a punitive measure; Tite acknowledged that, with a swift turnaround earlier than Brazil’s subsequent match, he needed a full complement, or near it, accessible towards South Korea on Monday.

Brazil earned the vast majority of possibilities, and it dominated possession, but it surely additionally lacked a sure precision within the attacking third. It tried to attain, and it failed, turned away by the dazzling Cameroon goalkeeper Devis Epassy, who was in all places he wanted to be and nowhere he wasn’t.

To qualify, the Indomitable Lions wanted extra assist than might fairly have been anticipated, and nonetheless, that assist almost arrived: Vincent Aboubakar guided within the decisive aim deep into second-half stoppage time, placing Cameroon forward, by 1-0, for the one, and closing, time. However it wanted one other aim, which Aboubakar apparently didn’t notice. He ripped off his shirt in celebration, incomes an computerized yellow card — his second — and was despatched off.

In snapping Brazil’s 17-game unbeaten streak in World Cup group-stage play, the Indomitable Lions grew to become the primary crew to register a shot on course towards it at this World Cup, and in addition the primary to attain. In addition they, and file this away for a pub quiz, grew to become the primary African crew to beat Brazil at a World Cup.

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