World Cup Day 9 Recap: Thrilling matches as two teams reach knockout stage

An exciting day of fixtures on day nine of the 2022 World Cup saw both Portugal and Brazil book their places in the round of 16.

Both nations have so far lived up to pre-tournament expectations by safely navigating their way through the group stage. Meanwhile, the other qualifying spots in Groups G and H are definitely up for grabs.

Uruguay need a win over Ghana in their last match in order to reach the knockout phase. Similarly, the winner of Switzerland v Serbia in Group G on Friday will likely determine who goes through.

If yesterday’s action is anything to go by, though, we should be in for some cracking finales to the group stage.

Cameroon 3-3 Serbia

In one of the games of the tournament, Cameroon and Serbia played out a brilliant 3-3 draw yesterday morning.

The African side actually took the lead early on thanks to a goal from Jean-Charles Castelletto. Unfortunately, though, Cameroon’s hard work in the first half was undone in stoppage time. Strahinja Pavlovic headed in an equaliser for Serbia before Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic made it 2-1 at the break.

Then, shortly after the restart, Serbia grabbed a third. After hitting the post in the first half, Aleksandar Mitrovic finally got his goal in a beautifully crafted move. At 3-1, it appeared that Serbia were in the clear.

But Cameroon had other ideas. Just minutes after coming on, Vincent Aboubakar beat the offside trap to score an audacious scoop. Three minutes later, Aboubakar turned provider when he rolled the ball to Choupo-Moting to even the score at 3-3.

Despite Serbia’s best efforts, the two sides played out an electric draw. Because of the tie, both sides will need to win their final group match to stand a chance of advancing.  

South Korea 2-3 Ghana

South Korea and Ghana had a tough act to follow after the entertainment of the first match. But they continued the brilliant day nine World Cup action with a pulsating game.

The Black Stars took the lead midway through the first half when Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu bundled the ball home. Ghana’s emerging star Mohammed Kudus then doubled his side’s advantage with a wonderful glancing header.

Needing drastic changes, South Korea adjusted in the second half to apply pressure to their opponents. These tactical tweaks seemed to have worked when Cho Gue-sung scored two headers in three minutes, tying this encounter at 2-2.

Having fought back to even the tie, South Korea must have been furious to find themselves behind again on 68 minutes. Mohammed Kudus grabbed his second of the game, sweeping home a low-driven cross to restore Ghana’s lead.

As Korea became more and more desperate, they peppered Lawrence Ati-Zigi’s goal with shots. However, their 22 efforts could not find an equaliser.

The match finally ended in a cloud of controversy, too. When South Korea had won a corner in injury time, referee Anthony Taylor blew the final whistle. This prompted furious reactions from South Korea, with their manager, Paulo Bento, receiving a red card for his dissent.

Brazil 1-0 Switzerland

Elsewhere yesterday, Brazil confirmed a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup thanks to a 1-0 win over Switzerland.

With Neymar not featuring due to injury, the Selecao needed their other attacking stars to step up in his absence. However, a strong Swiss defence wanted to frustrate the Samba side.

A tepid first half saw Brazil spend the bulk of the game in Switzerland territory. Raphinha looked bright, putting in a great cross that Vinicius Jr couldn’t convert. The Barcelona winger then stung Yann Sommer’s hands with a speculative effort.

There was more of the same after the break, although Breel Embolo made Alisson sweat when he nearly caught the Brazil keeper in possession. Despite this, Switzerland failed to register a shot on target in the game.

As chances kept going begging, Vinicius Jr thought he had broken the deadlock with a tidy finish. But, unfortunately, the offside flag denied the Real Madrid star. Instead, an unlikely hero emerged to score the decisive goal.

A Rodrygo flick found Casemiro in the box, who fired home a half-volley past Sommer thanks to a slight deflection. Their European opponents could not find a response, so Brazil took two wins from two in Group G.

Brazil’s Portuguese-speaking counterparts also earned back-to-back wins in Qatar last night.

Portugal 2-0 Uruguay

Bruno Fernandes put in a superb performance to lead Portugal to their first World Cup win over South American opposition since 1966. Portugal also got revenge on Uruguay for them eliminating the 2016 Euros champions at the last tournament in Russia.

During the first half, though, the match was extremely even. The main highlight before the interval was a stunning run from his own half by Rodrigo Bentancur. But, when the midfielder was one-on-one with Diogo Costa, Bentancur could not find the finish.

Portugal began the second half with more attacking intent and quickly earned their reward. Bruno Fernandes’ cross, intended for Ronaldo, went into the back of the net, giving Portugal a 1-0 lead.

In response, Uruguay made some substitutes that reinvigorated their attack. The energetic Facundo Pellistri impressed, plus Maxi Gomez hit the post with an effort. Despite this, the South Americans could not get a goal.

As stoppage time ticked by, a late penalty for handball gifted Portugal the chance to put the game to bed. Bruno Fernandes then duly obliged, slotting home the spot-kick with a trademark leap.

Thanks to their second consecutive win, Portugal now need a point from their last game to finish top of Group H.

Standings after day nine of the World Cup

Group G

  1. Brazil: 6pts, +3 GD
  2. Switzerland: 3pts, 0 GD
  3. Cameroon: 1pt, -1 GD
  4. Serbia: 1pt, -2 GD

Group H

  1. Portugal: 6pts, +3 GD
  2. Ghana: 3pts, 0 GD
  3. South Korea: 1pt, -1 GD
  4. Uruguay: 1pt, -2 GD

Featured image credit: Getty