Wednesday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup action features four games: Mexico vs. Sweden and South Korea vs. Germany in the final Group F games and Serbia vs. Brazil and Switzerland vs. Costa Rica in the Group E finales. Check below for game reports, highlights and other key facts from World Cup 2018 Day 14.
4 p.m. ET, Brazil 2, Serbia 0 (Final):
Brazil didn’t need to hit its stride to win Group E of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Brazil defeated Serbia 2-0 on Wednesday in their group-stage finale. The result confirms Brazil atop Group E’s standings and books a date with Mexico in the Round of 16. Serbia failed to win and claim the three points required to overtake Brazil or Switzerland for a spot in the knockout rounds.
Brazil suffered an early blow when left fullback Marcelo limped out of the game after just 10 minutes due to reported back spasms. Felipe Luis replaced him in Brazil’s lineup.
But Serbia opted against coming out of its defensive shell and played Brazil conservatively during the first half, while the South Americans failed to overrun them.
Brazil finally found their breakthrough in the 36th minute when Paulinho’s ran onto Philippe Coutinho’s long pass and poked his shot past Serbia’s onrushing goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.
Coutinho has seized his opportunity to become a key player for his national team at World Cup 2018.
Thiago Silva doubled Brazil’s lead in the 68th minute when he headed in Neymar’s corner kick.
Silva marshaled Brazil’s defense in shutting down Serbia’s last-ditch comeback efforts and clinching Brazil’s seemingly pre-ordained place in the Round of 16.
Man of the Match: Paulinho’s winning goal was the highlight of the Brazil midfielder’s all-action performance.
Next up: Serbia’s World Cup 2018 campaign is over. Brazil will play Mexico at 10 a.m. ET on Monday in the Round of 16.
4 p.m. ET, Switzerland 2, Costa Rica 2 (Final):
Switzerland survived a tough game against Costa Rica on Wednesday to end Group E play and will progress to the Round of 16 after a 2-2 draw.
The Swiss finished with five points through three games to place second behind group winner Brazil (seven points).
Costa Rica started off in fine fashion, creating several quality scoring chances. But it was the Swiss who struck first, opening the scoring in the 31st minute when Blerim Dzemaili found the back of the net.
Kendall Watson netted Costa Rica’s first goal of the tournament in the 56th minute to tie the score at a goal apiece.
Switzerland briefly re-took the lead when Josip Drmic scored in the 88th minute.
Costa Rica ensured it wouldn’t leave the 2018 World Cup without earning a single point by converting a penalty kick in the 93rd minute and getting some lucky bounces in the process.
Man of the Match
After giving the Swiss a 1-0 lead and playing a great game overall, Dzemaili receives man of the match honors.
Costa Rica failed to qualify for the knockout stage, while Switzerland earned a Round of 16 matchup against Sweden, which will take place at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
Noon ET, South Korea 2, Germany 0 (Final):
Germany’s long, impressive run of advancing to the FIFA World Cup knockout rounds ended Wednesday with a shocking 2-0 loss to South Korea to conclude Group F play.
The Germans’ streak went back to 1938, and now the defending world champions must go home after finishing last (!) in Group F. Germany also is the fourth defending champ in the last five World Cup tournaments to not reach the knockout stage.
The teams had plenty of quality scoring chances, but it took until stoppage time in the second half for someone to break through. That’s when Kim Young-Gwon capitalized for South Korea two minutes into stoppage time.
Son Heung-Min put the nail in Germany’s coffin with another goal six minutes into stoppage time, capping an incredible 2-0 win for South Korea.
Man of the Match:
South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-Woo played a spectacular game and finished with six saves, a few of which were extraordinary.
South Korea and Germany both failed to qualify for the Round of 16.
Noon ET, Sweden 3, Mexico 0 (Final):
El Tri is down but not out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Mexico fell 3-0 to Sweden on Wednesday in their final World Cup Group F game. The result lifts Sweden above Mexico into first place in the Group F standings, while Mexico dropped from first to second place. The teams advance to the Round of 16 because South Korea defeated Germany in the other Group F game.
The referee showed Mexico left back Jesus Gallardo a record-setting yellow card after just 15 seconds, and it was a sign of looming trouble.
Sweden outplayed Mexico thoroughly in the first half but failed to create many meaningful scoring opportunities. The referee used video replay in the 30th minute to determine Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez didn’t commit a handball inside his own penalty area, denying Sweden’s best opportunity in the period.
Mexico’s good fortune expired in the 50th minute when Viktor Claesson’s scuffed shot fell kindly to Ludwig Augustinsson, who scored on his first World Cup shot, per Opta.
Andreas Granqvist doubled Sweden’s lead from the penalty spot 12 minutes later.
Mexico defender Edson Alvarez compounded Mexico’s misery in the 74th minute with this record-setting own goal.
The scoreline lifted Sweden over Mexico on goal differential and pushed Mexico toward elimination. But South Korea did El Tri the biggest of favors by defeating Germany.
Meanwhile, Sweden can celebrate one of its greatest-ever World Cup wins forcefully.
Man of the Match: Augustinsson scored the winning goal and helped shut down the right side of Mexico’s attack with his defensive nous.
Next up: Mexico will face Brazil at 10 a.m. ET on Monday in the Round of 16. Sweden will play Switzerland at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday in the Round of 16.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/USA TODAY Sports Images
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