Sunday, January 29, 2023

WC: Brazil reach last 16; Ghana beat S Korea; Cameroon, Serbia share spoils

Brazil overcame the absence of Neymar to beat Switzerland 1-0 and advance to the round of the 16 of the World Cup on Monday.
Casemiro scored in the 83rd minute with a shot from inside the area to put Brazil in the last 16 with a match to spare in Group G.
Brazil striker Neymar stayed at the team’s hotel treating a right ankle injury sustained in the opener in Qatar. Team doctors have not yet given a timetable on his return — or said if he will return at all.
The win gave Brazil six points from two matches, leaving Switzerland with three. Serbia and Cameroon, which drew 3-3 earlier Monday, have point each.
Switzerland needs a win in the last match against Serbia to guarantee its spot in the next stage. A draw may be enough depending on the match between Brazil and Cameroon.
Ghana beat S Korea 3-2 in thriller
Mohammed Kudus scored twice to help Ghana beat South Korea 3-2 in a World Cup Group H thriller at a rocking Education City Stadium on Monday, keeping the Black Stars in contention for a place in the last 16.
Against the run of play, Ghana went ahead in the 24th minute when Mohammed Salisu struck from close range after South Korea failed to clear a free kick and Mohammed Kudus add a second with a glancing header to give the African side a 2-0 halftime lead.
South Korea came roaring back, however, with two daring Cho Gue-sung headers three minutes apart to level the seesaw match.
Kudus grabbed the winner in the 68th minute when he was left unmarked in the penalty area and slotted home past a diving Kim Seung-gyu.
Ghana, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at 61st, joined Portugal at the top of the group standings on three points with Uruguay and South Korea on one.
Cameroon, Serbia draw each other 3-3
Cameroon kept their faint hopes of reaching the round of 16 alive after substitute Vincent Aboubakar inspired a breathless comeback in a draw with Serbia in Al-Wakrah.
Aboubakar came off the bench to rescue his side by scoring one superb goal and creating another as they fought back to draw 3-3 with Serbia, a result that kept both sides’ slim chances alive at the World Cup in Qatar.
Jean-Charles Castelletto’s netted an opening goal for Cameroon at Al Janoub Stadium in the 29th minute. However Strahinja Pavlovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Serbia scored a goal each in first-half stoppage time to make it 2-1 against the West Africans.
Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrovic netted after the break to make it 3-1.
Aboubakar was summoned off the bench in the 55th minute and pulled a goal back for Cameroon with a stunning scooped chip over the keeper in the 63rd, before teeing up Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to draw them level three minutes later. The draw halted a run of eight consecutive World Cup defeats for the African side.
The result left both sides on one point and needing to win their final Group G game to stand a chance of going through to the knockout stages, with Cameroon facing Brazil on Friday when Serbia take on Switzerland.
Germany salvages 1-1 draw with Spain
Only a win for Germany in the final group game will give the four-time World Cup champions a chance to avoid a second straight early elimination.
At least they’re improving.
Substitute Niclas Füllkrug scored in the 83rd minute Sunday to give Germany a 1-1 draw against Spain at Al Bayt Stadium in one of the most anticipated matches of this year’s World Cup. A loss would not have eliminated Germany, but it would have left the team in a much more difficult position.
Germany’s fate will be decided on Thursday against Costa Rica, which defeated Japan 1-0 earlier Sunday. Even a win may not be enough for the Germans, who lost to Japan in their opener and are in last place in Group E. They need the other result to go their way.
If both Germany and Spain win, both will advance. If there is a draw in the Japan-Spain match, Germany will need to overcome a goal-difference deficit against the Japanese. If Japan is victorious, then the Germans will have to top Spain — which beat Costa Rica 7-0 — on goal difference to get through.
It was the fifth meeting between the powerhouses at World Cups, with Spain winning the most recent one 1-0 in the semifinals of the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Spain won its lone World Cup in 2010 and was eliminated in the round of 16 in 2018.

Ecuador vs Senegal— 8:30 pm
Netherlands vs Qatar— 8:30 pm
Iran vs Iran — 12:30 am (Wed)
Wales vs England — 12:30 am (Wed)

Ghana’s Mohammed Salisu celebrates after scoring the opening goal, Monday. (AP/PTI)
Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar, right, celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal against Serbia on Monday.
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