A chaotic end to the group stage sends Brazil and Switzerland through to the knockout rounds.
The chaos that dominated the first three days of the World Cup group stage final didn’t even bypass Group G on Friday, but whirled around the fringes of their two games and tumbled in to cause chaos in torrents and surges before it went away as quickly as it came.
While Brazil’s reserves clashed with Cameroon, Serbia and Switzerland fought for the final qualifying spot in the group. That game featured a spate of goals – five in 30 minutes – and then a barren stretch that mocked both teams, one more than the other.
In the end, Switzerland won 3-2 to advance to the knockout stages where they will meet Group H winners Portugal on Tuesday. The Swiss overcame a first-half deficit just before half-time behind Breel Embolo’s equalizer and then a crucial Remo Freuler strike in the 48th minute.
While Serbia lamented their missed opportunity – their next appearance in the round of 16 as an independent nation will be their first – the Swiss celebrated their third straight knockout rounds. They have become a regular presence there, although not quite as heavily as Brazil, which typically forwards its mail there every four years.
The game against Cameroon bordered on disappointment. Already qualified, Brazil would top Group G barring a crazy turn of events that wasn’t entirely out of the question. His manager Tite rested nine starters – from Richarlison to Thiago Silva, Casemiro to Vinicius Junior – and only played against two regulars, Fred and Eder Militao. It wasn’t a punitive measure; Tite realized that with a quick turnaround ahead of Brazil’s next game against South Korea on Monday, he wanted a full-or-close squad.
Brazil created most of the chances and dominated possession, but also lacked precision in the attacking third. He tried to score but failed when he was rebuffed by the stunning Cameroonian goalkeeper Devis Epassy, who was everywhere he needed to be and nowhere he wasn’t.
In order to qualify, the Indomitable Lions needed more help than could reasonably have been expected, and that help almost arrived: Vincent Aboubakar scored the crucial goal deep into second-half injury time to put Cameroon 1-0 ahead of only one and last time. But it took another goal that Aboubakar apparently failed to recognize. He tore off his shirt in celebration, automatically earning a yellow card – his second – and being sent off.
With Brazil’s 17-game unbeaten streak in the group stage of the World Cup, the Indomitable Lions became the first team to have a shot on goal against Brazil at this World Cup, and also the first to score. They also took this for a pub quiz and became the first African team to beat Brazil at a World Cup.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/02/sports/soccer/cameroon-brazil-world-cup-switzerland.html A chaotic end to the group stage sends Brazil and Switzerland through to the knockout rounds.