Everything You Need to Know About Day 9 of the World Cup

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 22, 2018

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 22:  Philippe Coutinho of Brazil celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 22, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Friday's play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup got off to a thrilling start, as Philippe Coutinho and Neymar both netted in stoppage time for Brazil to see them to a 2-0 win over Costa Rica.

The Selecao looked as though they were going to be frustrated on the day, as Neymar saw a penalty awarded and then ruled out after a video assistant referee review. However, they eventually broke down their determined opponents, with Brazil's two key attacking men doing the damage after the 90th minute.

In the second match of the day, Nigeria gave Argentina a lifeline with a 2-0 win over Iceland. Ahmed Musa was the star of the show for the Super Eagles, netting a fine brace in the second period.

The second game from Group E wrapped things up and it proved to be a thriller, as Xherdan Shaqiri sealed a comeback 2-1 win for Switzerland over Serbia with last-minute goal.

Read on for a guide of what you need to know from Friday's World Cup action, complete with group standings and a focus on each fixture.


Friday's Schedule

Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica

Nigeria 2-0 Iceland

Serbia 1-2 Switzerland


Group Standings (Goal Difference)

Group D

1. Croatia (a): 6 (+5)

2. Nigeria: 3 (0)

3. Iceland: 1 (-2)

4. Argentina: 1 (-3)


Group E

1. Brazil: 4 (+2)

2. Switzerland 4 (+1)

3. Serbia: 3 (0)

4. Costa Rica: 0 (-3)

(a) Denotes team has qualified for the next roundVisit the official FIFA website for the full standings.


Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 22:  Neymar of Brazil reacts at the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 22, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt -
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

They left it late, but Brazil picked up their first win of the 2018 World Cup thanks to two late goals from Coutinho and Neymar.

There was agitation for the latter throughout. In the second period he was awarded a penalty, only for the referee to overturn the decision after reviewing the footage. Former England striker Gary Lineker suggested the right call was made:

Gary Lineker @GaryLineker

VAR gets it 100% right. Neymar dived and justice was done. That’s exactly what VAR is for.

It looked as though it was going to be day to forget for Brazil from that point, as Costa Rica defended tremendously. But in the end the class of the Selecao showed in the clutch moments.

In the 91st minute Coutinho prodded home from close range after a brilliant knockdown from Roberto Firmino, sparking wild celebrations on the sidelines, on the pitch and in the stands.

And then, with Costa Rica piled forward, Neymar seized his moment, finishing into an empty net after he was played in by Fernandinho. Afterwards tears were shed by the forward, who, after a difficult start to the competition, will hope to use the goal as a springboard for the rest of the tournament.


Nigeria 2-0 Iceland

Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

The first period of this one was a tame affair, as Nigeria failed to muster any shots at goal despite dominating possession. After the break, the Super Eagles were a different beast.

They eventually went ahead at the end of a wonderful counter-attack, which was finished expertly by Musa. The forward controlled the ball well with his first touch and then struck a sweet finish on the half volley past the Iceland goalkeeper.

Journalist Tom McDermott commented on a brilliant bit of improvisation from Musa: 

Tom McDermott @MrTomMcDermott

Most impressive part of the goal wasn’t Musa’s touch (that was v good btw) but the way Musa adjusted his body and then half-volleyed the ball high into the net. Excellent. #Musa #Nga

The Leicester City man was clearly in the mood after that opener and rattled the bar with a strike from distance soon after. It wasn't long before he was on the scoresheet again.

Musa's pace saw him burst past a defender and into the penalty area, putting him one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He then took the ball past the stopper and with two defenders on the line, finshed with excellent composure. 

As noted by Tom Williams, it was quite the display from the forward:

Tom Williams @tomwfootball

Ahmed Musa with the kind of performance that makes kids fall in love with football.

Iceland did have the chance to set up a nervy finish, when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Alfred Finnbogason with eight minutes remaining. But their talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson skied his effort over the bar to end their hopes.


Serbia 1-2 Switzerland

TOPSHOT - Switzerland's forward Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates winning their Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match between Serbia and Switzerland at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 22, 2018. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDI
OZAN KOSE/Getty Images

There was another absorbing game to finish the day, as Shaqiri helped Switzerland take a massive step towards the knockout stages.

With the score level at 1-1, he rushed through on goal in the 90th minute and finished calmly to give his team victory at the end of a frantic contest.

As noted, his excellent goal came at the end of a brilliant individual performance:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Xherdan Shaqiri's #WorldCup game by numbers vs. #SRB: 91% pass-accuracy 77 touches 8 shots 5 fouls won 4 successful take-ons 1 shot on target 1 goal Im-pec-cable. #SUI https://t.co/IwlnBRkvDX

Serbia had actually taken the lead in this one through Aleksandar Mitrovic, as he thumped a trademark header home on five minutes.

The Swiss improved after the break, though, with Granit Xhaka smashing a long-range effort home from the edge of the box to level things up. Shaqiri then hit the post with a swirling strike, before Mitrovic was denied what appeared to be a clear penalty before Switzerland snatched this one at the death.