All over! Uruguay fall to Portugal!
That's it! Portugal 2, Uruguay 0. Bruno Fernandes' double makes the difference!
is over as the tournament's second round of matches have wrapped up as Portugal beat Uruguay 2-0 in the final game of the day with Bruno Fernandes scoring both goals to put his team through to knockout stages with a match to spare.
Earlier Brazil needed 80 minutes to score but ultimately snuck by Switzerland 1-0 thanks to a goal from Casemiro. It was hard work for Brazil but they got it done. Without Neymar pulling the strings, the attack frequently looked ponderous for Brazil with a well organized Switzerland team resisting getting themselves broken down for 80 minutes. But, eventually, the Swiss were ground down and it was Casemiro stepping forward from defensive midfield into the box to receive a flick from substitute Antony that made the difference. Brazil are only the second team, following France, to win their first two matches, and they've now clinched a spot in the round of 16.
To get Monday kicked off it was all goals all the time at the World Cup. It all began with an exciting and clash between Cameroon and Serbia, chock full of action. The match ended 3-3 after Cameroon scored the opening goal but then at the end of the first half Serbia managed to overturn the result and scored twice in less than three minutes. It seemed to be over for Cameroon after Serbia scored the third goal with Aleksandar Mitrovic at the beginning of the second half, but the African side scored two goals with Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Later, South Korea and Ghana set the tone for Group H with a five goal thriller as Ghana won the game 3-2. South Korea opened the game up with lots of possession and earned seven corners in the first half, but Ghana struck twice with goals by Mohammed Salisu and Mohammed Kudus for a lead at halftime. A strong counter pressing attack by South Korea in the second half led to two goals to make things level, both from Cho Gue-sung. But the game winner came from Ghana as Kudus recorded his second in the match to secure all three points for the African side.
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Brazil weren't overly sharp, but when you can not have your best day in attack and still beat Switzerland 1-0, you are doing something right. Without the injured Neymar, the attack did not flow like it did in the opener against Serbia, but it was more than enough as Casemiro's goal with under 10 minutes ago lifted Brazil to six points. The victory was enough to see Brazil clinch a spot in the round of 16. While the attack was sometimes out of sync, still learning how to cope without their superstar, they still had their moments.
Vinicius Jr. looked to have scored the opener before his goal was disallowed, leaving Casemiro to do this:
After having nine shots on frame in the opener, Brazil managed five in this one, but they once again were efficient enough and can now even rest some players on Matchday 3.
Who would think that a team with Darwin Nunez, Fede Valverde, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani would be scoreless after two games. Diego Alonso's men are in deep trouble after another goose egg in attack.
They hit the post in this one with substitute Maxi Gomez, and Rodrigo Benatncur missed a golden chance in the first half. If you recall, Diego Godin hit the post in the opening draw against South Korea, too. It's not like they are having trouble creating, they just aren't converting. Well, against Ghana, they will have to.
To advance, Uruguay must beat Ghana and hope South Korea don't beat Portugal, because if they do, it will come down to goal differential.
But do not discount the Ghanians after their 3-2 win over South Korea. They have five goals scored this tournament and have proven to be a tough out. That should be no different when these two meet on Friday.
This was a crucial win for Portugal. Not only does it punch their ticket to the next round, but it also makes them the heavy favorite to win the group, and with that comes, most likely, avoiding Brazil in the round of 16. With the Brazilians looking like a lock to win Group G, that means the second-place team in Group H would be their opponents in the next round. Portugal now have the luxury of still winning the group even if they suffer a one-goal defeat to the South Korean side.
That's it! Portugal 2, Uruguay 0. Bruno Fernandes' double makes the difference!
Two really good chances after Gomez hit the post. First, Suarez gets a loose ball on a set piece right in front of goal but hits it into the side of the net! Then it is Varela who tries to be cute with a lifted ball instead of playing it square in the box! So wasteful and Diego Alonso cannot believe it.
Uruguay make two big changes, bringing on Luis Suarez and Maxi Gomez for Edinson Cavani and Darwin Nunez, and it's Gomez that makes the early impact, one-timing a curler from the top of the box that rocks off the right post! Boy did that look like it was headed in, and the young striker cannot believe it!
The Portuguese have struck first! In the 53rd minute, it's 1-0 on a goal that has been given to Cristiano Ronaldo, but I think it is Bruno Fernandes'. The former Manchester United teammates connect as Bruno plays a fine ball into the box that Ronaldo attacks, but he doesn't appear to get a touch on it as it finds its way in at the back post! Portugal will take it either way!
The second half has begun with no changes for either team. Portugal have started quickly, winning an early corner. The passes have been crisp for the Portuguese, and they seem to have a bit of urgency, knowing just how tricky this team can be to break down in the final third.
It's 0-0, just as we started. Eight shots for Portugal with none on frame, and Uruguay have four with one on frame. 70 percent possession for the Portuguese, but the best chance belongs to Diego Alonso's men with the effort from Bentancur that was saved by Diogo Costa. A tense second 45 minutes to go.
Nuno Mendes is coming off. He's down on the ground and appears very emotional. Unclear if he rolled something or if it is a tweaked hamstring. But Guerreiro is the man coming on for him at left-back. This hurts Portugal in attack in terms of velocity, but as we've seen at Dortmund, Guerreiro can be a big contributor with quick passing and a quality shot.
Oh man! Bentancur with a crazy miss! He runs from midfield and dices up the backline, getting free into the box, but Diogo closes down and saves it with his behind The ball rolls under him but he gets enough of his body on it to slow it down! Portugal are very fortunate to have not conceded there!
Gimenez gets a good look on a header on a corner as Uruguay get their first good chance. It's open and fun so far but tense as can be. Portugal are finding spice down on the flanks in the early going.
Nice little moment from Portugal as Mendes gets to take a crack on a one-timer in the box, and the form was good but he got under it, sending it into the stands. Uruguay continue to push forward and pressure big time, and Portugal have struggled with it so far. At the end of the sixth minute, Ruben Dias is stepped on by Bentancur and is down in an injury.
The match has begun! Uruguay in their classic white, and Portugal in their diagonal split jersey of red and green. So far, Fede Valverde is playing almost as a winger to the right of Edinson Cavani, and the pace is calm.
These two teams are quite familiar with each other after facing off in the round of 16 in 2018. It was a 2-1 win for Uruguay as Edinson Cavani scored a brace between Pepe's lone goal for the Portuguese. That saw the South Americans advance to the quarterfinals, where they fell to eventual champions France, 2-0.
Focus now shifts towards the final game of the day, and it's a big one! Uruguay and Portugal meet in just 20 minutes' time with so much on the line. Uruguay drew their opener against South Korea and hope to pick up three points against the team they knocked out of Russia 2018. Portugal looked sharp in attack in their 3-2 win over Ghana but they are showing that they can let teams hang around. What a match this should be!
Portugal XI: Diogo Costa, João Cancelo, Pepe, Rúben Dias, R. Guerreiro, Rúben Neves, William, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, João Félix, Ronaldo
Uruguay XI: Rochet; Coates, Godín, Giménez; Varela, Valverde, Bentancur, Vecino, Olivera; Cavani, Darwin Núñez
That goal was even better than the Vinicius one that didn't stand! Vinicius rolls the ball from the left to the edge of the area, Antony flicks it first time and Casemiro hits it on the volley. A deflection off Akanji adds some spin to it but it was probably flying in anyway.
What had been ponderous stuff from the tournament favorites is now beginning to open up. The introduction of Rodrygo to play at the 10 is seemingly working as space for Vini Jr. to run into is starting to spring into existence. With 20 minutes to go can Brazil become only the second team after France to put consecutive wins on the board.
Vini Jr. had the ball in the back of the net after a brilliant move but it was all started by Richarlison coming back from an offside position which VAR eventually figured out. Still Brazil starting to make things happen now.
Maybe more credit should go to Switzerland for their tight, organised defensive lines because every time the ball breaks it does so to a player in red who delivers a clearing boot. Equally the Brazilians really aren't playing with the juice you'd expect now that they've added another forward, who is playing as more of a free eight than a pure 10. Whatever his position the ball movement is just a mite too slow.
Real Madrid's Rodrygo waits on the sideline to take the place of Lucas Paqueta. One presumes he will slot in at the number 10 position, a quick glance of Transfermarkt suggest he has played in that sort of position twice in his club career. But it's not as if there were many other alternatives available to Tite. A failure of squad building, perhaps?
Usually at the interval I go through the tweets and posts looking for video clips to give you some flavor of that first half. Wish me luck. This is going to be a struggle. I'm not sure I can manage it.
You know how you're eating a Toblerone and you can't find the optimum way to snap off a chunk without your hands being covered in chocolate? That's been Brazil for the first 26 or so minutes but at last Raphinha finds an angle, drilling a cross to the back post and Vinicius. He can't quite catch his volley right and Sommer saves but that was a reminder to Switzerland that if they let their opponents grind away for a whole game then good chances will come.
Half an hour in and Brazil is comfortably the better side here even without Neymar. In attack it hasn't been anything special with just four shots but Switzerland have basically sacrificed any attack of their own in order to keep Brazil at bay. Switzerland have just a single shot, an effort in a crowded box from a tight angle off of a header. Not much to write home about.
One of the luxury problems that emerged from Brazil after their opener was how they looked better after Neymar's exit through injury and you can see flashes of similar interplay in these opening 12 minutes, where there is also sorts of quick interplay that sends them flying through the Swiss. The first time it's Paqueta with the flick in behind for Richarlison to chase, then it's Fred turning provider. Neither have led to shots yet but they're getting closer.
Away we go and immediately Brazil are on top, winning a free kick down the left channel that is flashed dangerously towards Richarlison, who cannot quite get his head on the ball. Meanwhile in midfield Casemiro does that thing that only Casemiro does, a swing of the left boot into a Swiss opponent that looks a yellow card foul to my eyes but not to those of the officials.
As Brazil prepare for kickoff against Switzerland make sure to check out our newsletter where today you can read about why, despite Neymar's injury Brazil are heavier favorites to win the World Cup than win the event kicked off. From today's edition:
"Part of the reason for Brazil's shortening odds falls on Argentina's woes. We know about the upset loss to Saudi Arabia, but Lionel Messi and Argentina then looked alarmingly conservative in their victory over Mexico. While their fate remains firmly in their own hands, the performances mean that winning their group is no longer a sure thing. In some circumstances, Argentina could fall on the opposite side of the bracket from Brazil if they advance second in their group."
Though clear underdogs, this experienced Switzerland side have gotten used to the role of spoilers, Yann Sommer inspiring them to a victory over France at Euro 2020. They also impressed last time they faced the Selecao, holding them to a 1-1 draw in Russia four years ago.
"They have world-class players," Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka said of Brazil. "They have big, big quality. They are the favorites in the tournament and the favorites in our group, but it is one game. Anything can happen.
"We will have to be much more careful against Brazil than we were against Cameroon. If you lose the ball against Brazil, you pay for it. They have great, great quality. If you see the Brazil players, they can put out three teams. They have big talents that are coming through, but they know us as well, that it is not always easy to play against us and we want to give them as difficult a game as possible. Hopefully, we can turn something around."
Brazil XI: Alisson; Eder Militao, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Fred, Paqueta; Raphinha, Richarlison, Vinicius Jr.
Switzerland XI: Sommer; Widmer, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez; Freuler, Xhaka, Sow; Rieder, Embolo, Vargas
Ghana claims all three points with three goals! Mohammed Salisu opened the goal scoring and Mohammed Kudus scored a double, including the game winner, in the Black Stars victory over South Korea. Group H is shaping up for a wild finish.