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Winners & Losers

No Neymar, no problem! Brazil winners, losers and ratings as Casemiro sends Tite's men into World Cup last 16

21:36 EAT 28/11/2022
Casemiro Brazil 2022
The Manchester United midfielder was the hero as the five-time winners booked their spot in the knockout stages with victory over Switzerland

It might not be pretty, but Brazil’s quest for a sixth World Cup is most definitely on track. Twenty years on from their last triumph, Tite’s men look like they have the tools to go all the way once more. They became the second side, after France, to book their place in the last 16 on Monday, securing qualification courtesy of a 1-0 win over Switzerland at Doha’s Stadium 974.

Just as against Serbia in their opening group match, they needed to be patient to secure the victory. It took a late strike, and a deflected one at that, from Manchester United’s Casemiro to deliver it, on a night when the absence of Neymar looked like it might cost them dear.

But few sides at this tournament look as solid defensively as the Selecao, and having effectively nullified any semblance of Swiss threat, it always felt like a goal would come. It did against Serbia, and it did again here.

Brazil march on. Few teams will want to face them in the knockout stages.

Here, GOAL runs through the winners and losers in Doha…

  • Casemiro Brazil 2022

    The Winners

    Casemiro:

    He doesn't just do the dirty work, hey? There have been few better midfielders so far at this tournament than Casemiro, and here the Manchester United man delivered a match-winning moment to go with his pair of standout performances. Sure, he needed the aid of a deflection, his superbly-struck half-volley taking a nick off Manchester City's Manuel Akanji en route to the far corner, but the 30-year-old was a fitting hero for Tite's side, having turned in another flawless display in the centre of the park. Casemiro's ability to mop up, read the game and cover space defensively is absolutely key to the way Brazil want to play, and if he's chipping in goals as well then what a bonus that is for the five-time champions.

    Tite's squad:

    It may have taken a while to come, but there was, just as there was against Serbia, a sense of inevitability about Brazil's victory. Quite simply, they have too much attacking quality to fail for 90 minutes. Even without their talisman, the injured Neymar, the array of talent on display was frightening. Richarlison struggling? Bring on Gabriel Jesus. Raphinha fading? OK, let's have a look at Antony then. When things got tense, Tite was able to bring on one of the most in-form midfielders in the Premier League in Bruno Guimaraes, and one of the best young players in world football in Rodrygo. All of the changes had a positive impact. One of the subs, Rodrygo, set up the winner, his neat flick finding Casemiro on the edge of the box, and had it not been for a superb late block, the Real Madrid star would have added a second. Some may argue the manager should be getting more out of such a stacked squad, but for now Brazil are exactly where they want to be; in the last 16, keeping clean sheets and knowing they have the ability to beat any team that stands in front of them.

    Alisson Becker:

    Two games, two clean sheets, zero shots on target faced. Qatar has been a bit of a holiday so far for Brazil's goalkeeper, hasn't it? The Liverpool man was a virtual spectator against Serbia, and he was hardly required here as his side produced another accomplished defensive display. With Marquinhos and Thiago Silva rekindling their brilliant central defensive partnership in the middle, with Casemiro patrolling in front and with Alex Sandro and the impressive Eder Militao solid and reliable at full-back, Brazil look like the most robust team in the tournament. And even if that fails, they have the best goalkeeper in the world too. We just haven't seen him yet...

  • Richarlison Brazil 2022

    The Losers

    Richarlison:

    From feast to famine. After lighting up Brazil's win over Serbia in the first group match, all eyes were on Richarlison - especially in the absence of Neymar - to see if he could build on that impressive start. He couldn't. The Tottenham man was a virtual spectator here, drifting on the periphery for 73 frustrating minutes before being replaced by Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus. In those 73 minutes, Richarlison managed only 17 touches and, remarkably, completed only three passes. He almost got on the end of a couple of crosses, from Raphinha and Vinicius Junior, but this was not a game the in-form No.9 will remember with any fondness.

    Serbia:

    Brazil's late winner will have been celebrated by Cameroon and Serbia, but the latter will reflect on a huge missed opportunity after the early game in Group G. Having led 3-1 against Cameroon with 27 minutes left, Dragan Stojkovic's side had the chance to put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the last 16, only to carelessly throw away their advantage. Now, they need to beat Switzerland in their final group match and hope Cameroon don't stun and already-qualified Brazil. Not impossible, by any means, but a lot tougher than it should have been.

    Danilo:

    If there were signs that Brazil missed Neymar here, the absence of their other injured man barely registered. Danilo, like the Paris Saint-Germain superstar, has been ruled out of the remainder of the group stage with an ankle problem, but he might have a problem getting back into the side when he's fit anyway after his replacement, Eder Militao, delivered a faultless display at right-back. The Real Madrid man usually plays in the middle, of course, but his physicality and recovery pace proved more than useful here, albeit against a Swiss side that showed a disappointing lack of ambition going forward. He is certainly not Dani Alves, in terms of his forward raids, but with Raphinha in front of him (or Antony, who replaced the Barcelona man late on) he doesn't need to be. He needs to be solid, and he certainly was here.

  • Eder Militao Brazil 2022

    Brazil Ratings: Defence

    Alisson Becker (6/10):

    A couple of loose moments on the ball but maybe he was bored. He had nothing else to do, after all.

    Eder Militao (7/10):

    Came into the side and didn't put a foot wrong at right back.

    Marquinhos (7/10):

    Played in second gear, doing what he needed to with minimum fuss.

    Thiago Silva (7/10):

    Another Rolls Royce of a performance at centre-back.

    Alex Sandro (7/10):

    Excellent sliding intervention early in the second half, and otherwise looked comfortabe without really doing too much going forward.

  • Fred Brazil 2022

    Midfield

    Casemiro (8/10):

    The best midfielder at the tournament so far. Read the game superbly, won the ball back and scored the winner.

    Fred (5/10):

    Brought into the team in Neymar's absence, the Manchester United man brought energy but little else of note.

    Lucas Paqueta (6/10):

    A few nice touches and looked tidy enough, before being replaced at half-time.

  • Raphinha Brazil 2022

    Attack

    Vinicius Junior (7/10):

    Denied a goal - and a fine finish it was too - after a VAR check and missed a first-half chance. Helped create the winner and set up a late chance for Rodrygo. Always a threat.

    Raphinha (7/10):

    Better than against Serbia. Great pass to set up Vinicius Junior in the first half and his delivery was good.

    Richarlison (4/10):

    Put himself about as usual, but in terms of his football, he had no impact whatsoever. A stark contrast to the first game of the group.

  • Gabriel Jesus Brazil 2022

    Subs & Manager

    Rodrygo (7/10):

    Sublime flick to set up the winner. Denied a goal himself late on.

    Bruno Guimaraes (6/10):

    Caught on the ball just after coming on. Added forward passing.

    Gabriel Jesus (5/10):

    Didn't do too much after coming on for Richarlison.

    Antony (6/10):

    Pace was on display immediately after coming on.

    Alex Telles (N/A):

    On to provide fresh legs late on.

    Tite (6/10):

    Has got his team defending solidly, and even if they aren't clicking in attack just yet, he has the options to change any game.