Casemiro scored a stunning winner as Brazil defeated Switzerland to advance to the World Cup knockout stage.
An otherwise dull game was enlivened seven minutes from time when Manchester United midfielder Casemiro fired a first-time effort into the far corner, leaving goalkeeper Yann Sommer helpless.
Brazil followed up their opening victory over Serbia by topping the group with maximum points, and a point against Cameroon in their final game will ensure top spot.
Tite’s men thought they had broken the deadlock after an hour when Vinicius Jr calmly stroked in, but VAR ruled the goal out for offside.
Switzerland had sat compact for much of the game and provided no attacking threat, failing to register a shot on goal.
Murat Yakin’s team thought they would escape with a point, but Casemiro’s moment of inspiration had Brazilian fans jumping around inside Stadium 974.
Prior to Casemiro’s moment of brilliance, this appeared to be a drab, goalless draw.
Gilberto Silva, a member of Brazil’s last World Cup-winning team in 2002, described the midfielder as the “invisible man” before the game. It was a testament to the midfielder’s willingness to quietly do the dirty work for the team.
But this time, Casemiro was the center of attention at the end, as he and his teammates celebrated victory in front of their fans by jumping and singing.
It was also a lovely finish, with the Brazilians exchanging quick passes before Real Madrid substitute Rodrygo slipped a pass in for Casemiro to fire an angled finish with the outside of his boot.
Brazil lacked inspiration in the final third and found chances at a premium without injured star man Neymar, who was out injured and will not recover until the knockout stage.
The tournament favorites have a slew of attacking players, but it was their defensive midfield maestro who extended their unbeaten run in the group stages to a tournament record 17 games.
Brazil’s first shot came after 27 minutes, when Vinicius Jr’s scuffed volley at the back post was pushed out by Sommer, while Raphinha’s well-struck effort from range was straight at the Swiss goalkeeper.
When the Swiss conceded late in the game, they had to abandon their defensive shape, and more chances fell to Brazil, but they were unable to convert them.
Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimaraes’ header was saved by Sommer, while Rodrygo had the best chance for a second in injury time, but his thunderous shot was brilliantly blocked by Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji.