Thiago Silva helped Brazil to another win, another clean sheet and a place in the last-16 at the FIFA World Cup, while Baba Rahman came off the bench to push Ghana to a memorable victory over South Korea.
Thiago Silva captained the side once again on his 111th international appearance but it was a frustrating night for long periods for the Selecao, who were without the injured Neymar up against a stubborn and organised Switzerland.
Action in the first half was limited to just two shots on target between the two nations, both for Brazil. Vinicius Junior mustered one of those but was denied by a smart save from Yann Sommer at the near post.
While marshalling another composed defensive performance, our experienced defender also claimed one of Brazil’s six first-half efforts right before the interval with a header from Raphinha’s inswinging corner. Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka was in close proximity, however, and did enough to divert the attempt behind.
Seconds later, the floodlights at Stadium 974 temporarily went out, encapsulating the faltering attacking display from the Brazilians in the first period.
There were samba celebrations in the stands 20 minutes after the restart when Vinicius Junior skipped clear and finished confidently into the bottom corner for what appeared to be the opener, though a VAR check for offside in the build-up ruled Richarlison had been at fault.
Brazil continued to build pressure without the necessary penetration before Manchester United midfielder Casemiro stepped up as the match-winner with seven minutes remaining, lashing a wonderful strike beyond Sommer into the far corner to break the deadlock.
The win leaves Tite’s men on six points in Group G and assured of a place in the knockout round prior to their final group game against Cameroon on Friday.
After 13 shutouts in 17 qualifying matches, Thiago Silva has now contributed to back-to-back clean sheets at the tournament as the Swiss, like Serbia in the first group game, were unable to muster a single shot on target.
Baba digs in for Ghana
Earlier on Monday, Baba Rahman came off the bench for the closing stages of Ghana’s thrilling 3-2 victory over South Korea at the Education City Stadium.
Baba, who had started Ghana’s first game against Portugal, helped the Black Stars over the line for the final 12 minutes of a topsy-turvy encounter.
Two first-half goals, scored by Mohamed Salisu and Mohammed Kudus from crosses on the left, gave Ghana a commanding lead that was cancelled out in just 168 seconds either side of the hour mark. Cho Gue-sung headed both goals to make it 2-2, but Kudus soon restored Ghana’s lead at the end of a slick counter-attack.
There was plenty of late drama as South Korea piled forward in search of another leveller, but Ghana stood firm in defence with Baba’s major contribution one good defensive header behind.
Ghana rise to second in Group H ahead of Portugal’s game against Uruguay later. Whatever happens in that one, qualification will be in their hands when they play Uruguay on Friday.