World Cup Results 2018: Scores and Updated Group Standings After Friday

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2018

Brazil's Neymar celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Dmitri Lovetsky/Associated Press

Brazil beat Costa Rica 2-0 in Group E at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia on Friday. The favourites weren't the only winners, though, as Nigeria also won 2-0 against Iceland in Group D.

In the process, the Super Eagles gave disappointing Argentina a reprieve. Lionel Messi and his countrymen can still qualify for the knockout phase if they beat Nigeria and Iceland fail to match or better the result against group leaders Croatia.

The day ended with Switzerland coming back from a goal down to beat Serbia 2-1, thanks to a late break from the impressive Xherdan Shaqiri. It means Die Nati are keeping up with Brazil in the standings:

   

Group D (Wins, Goal Difference and Points)

1. Croatia: 2, +5, 6

2. Nigeria: 1, 0, 3

3. Iceland: 0, -2, 1

4. Argentina: 0, -3, 1

Group E

1. Brazil: 1, +2, 4

2. Switzerland: 1, +1, 4

3. Serbia: 1, 0, 3

4. Costa Rica: 0, -3, 0

   

Full standings are available, per FIFA.com.

  

Neymar Central to Everything for Brazil

Not surprisingly, Brazil's win was dominated by Neymar. Specifically, the Paris Saint-Germain forward showed the good, bad and the ugly sides of his game.

Neymar helped create Philippe Coutinho's opener a minute into stoppage time. He was on the scoresheet himself in the 97th minute, prompting tears from the world's most expensive player.

Earlier, Neymar had seen a penalty overturned when referee Bjorn Kuipers used VAR. Kuipers also booked the 26-year-old attacker following repeated displays of frustration and petulance.

Despite his goal and one or two moments of outrageous skill, not everybody was impressed with Neymar, particularly with his attempts to win a spot-kick:

However, the player took to Instagram (h/t Telegraph Football) to defend his reaction at full-time:

Neymar may have stolen the headlines, but the bigger story is the favourites getting a first win on the board after being held by Switzerland last time out. Brazil still aren't clicking, but there is enough quality in the ranks to believe Neymar and Co. will get better the further they progress in the tournament.

   

Changed Nigeria Punish Iceland

Seeing his side outclassed by Croatia first time out prompted Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr to wisely refresh the ranks. He sent striker Odion Ighalo and Arsenal playmaker Alex Iwobi to the bench while changing the Super Eagles' shape to a 3-5-2 formation.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa led the line, with the latter proving a two-goal hero. In the process, Musa showcased the scoring knack, clever touch and pace rarely seen since he moved to Leicester City in 2016:

Musa's heroics summed up a display of pace, power and purpose from Nigeria. The Super Eagles stayed compact and disciplined out of possession, but committed to winning the ball high and breaking swiftly.

Iceland had few answers, although they might have made things interesting had Gylfi Sigurdsson not missed a penalty late on.

Argentina will need to be wary of Nigeria's speed on the counter when the two meet in a decisive match on Tuesday, June 26.

Admirable Fighting Spirit Keeps Switzerland Alive

There's no quit in this Switzerland side even if a lack of quality up top may ultimately doom their qualification chances. The Swiss battled back admirably in Kaliningrad to stun Serbia and stay on pace with Brazil in Group E.

Serbia went 1-0 up after just five minutes when the bullish Aleksandar Mitrovic added to his burgeoning tally at this level:

Despite being outclassed for most of the half, Switzerland were resolute and maintained a threat on the break. A swift counter ultimately gave them the winner late on after Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka had thundered in an equaliser on 52 minutes.

Xhaka played his part in working the ball to Shaqiri in the final minute, with the Stoke City winger racing clear before finishing coolly to lift his nation above Serbia in the standings.

Group F will be the main focus on Saturday, as holders Germany attempt to rebound from losing their opener to Mexico when they face Sweden. Meanwhile, El Tri will be in action against South Korea.

The day will begin with Belgium taking on Tunisia in Group G.

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