Russia Watch: Tearful Neymar sparks relief for Brazil

Neymar became Brazil’s third-highest scorer of all-time as the South American’s left it late to pick up their first win of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

Elsewhere, there was late drama in Switzerland’s clash with Serbia while the Super Eagles of Nigeria boosted their hopes of a berth in the last 16 win a memorable win.

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It’s all here in our daily wrap looking at the results and news from the FIFA World Cup™ with our Russia Watch.

BRAZIL 2-0 COSTA RICA

Brazil scored twice in stoppage-time at the end of the match to snatch a crucial win over Costa Rica to go to the top of Group E.

The Samba stars looked like they would be left frustrated for a second straight match after missing a host of chances, while Neymar was also denied a penalty by the VAR with 10 minutes left.

But after the clocked ticked over 90 minutes, goals to Philippe Coutinho and Neymar broke Costa Rica hearts.

Neymar's goal lifted his tally to 56 for Brazil, moving him one clear of Romario into third place on the country's all-time list.

His next target is Ronaldo (62) before he starts to chase down Pele, who is well clear at the top on 77 goals.

Neymar dropped to his knees in tears on the final whistle after the tournament's most successful side came through a real test of character.

"Not everyone knows what I went through to get here," the 26-year-old posted on Instagram.

"I cried out of happiness, overcoming, grit and desire to win. Things were never easy in my life, so why would they be now?"

Neymar’s goal, timed at 96:49, is the latest recorded 90th-minute goal at the tournament in 52 years.

SWITZERLAND 2-1 SERBIA

Xherdan Shaqiri scored a last-minute winner to give Switzerland one foot in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup™ with a vital win over Serbia.

The Stoke City forward kept his cool to put the finishing touch on a brilliant second-half fightback from Vladimir Petkovic's side that began when Granit Xhaka scored a thunderous equaliser early in the second half.

After Aleksandar Mitrovic gave Serbia an early lead, Arsenal midfielder Xhaka rattled in one of the goals of the tournament – a rasping drive from 25 yards which flew into the far corner of the net.

Shaqiri hit the crossbar as Switzerland chased a winner before delivering the crucial goal in the last minute, outpacing his defender before beating the keeper with a composed low finish.

The Swiss will next meet already-eliminated Costa Rica knowing a draw will be enough to advance to the knockout stage, while head into their clash with Brazil knowing only a win can guarantee them a spot in the last 16.

Xherdan Shaqiri
Xherdan Shaqiri

NIGERIA 2-0 ICELAND

In a major boost to Argentina’s hopes of progression to the last 16, Nigeria scored two second-half goals to defeat Iceland in Volgograd.

Lionel Messi's team were pushed to the brink of an early exit after a stunning 3-0 loss to Croatia on Thursday, but victory in their final Group D game against Nigeria could now send them through to the last 16.

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And they have Ahmed Musa to thank for keeping them alive as he struck both goals to become the nation’s top scorer in the history of the tournament.

After being left out of the side that lost to Croatia, Musa justified his recall with a brace, first controlling a cross from Victor Moses and thumping an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net.

Musa added the match-sealer 15 minutes from time, bursting clear in the left channel, cutting inside and slipped a calm finish past the keeper, before Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a late penalty for Iceland.

Ahmed Musa
Ahmed Musa
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This article was originally published on the Caltex Socceroos website.
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