|A distraught Na Sang-ho as his team's chances withered away after loss to Ghana — AFP/VNA Photo|
HÀ NỘI — A draught of goals came to an end Monday in the 2022 FIFA World Cup with spectators in a staggering 14 goals in four games.
Honours even in six-goals thriller
|Cameroonians rejoice after their 3-3 equaliser. — AFP/VNA Photo|
Both Cameroon and Serbia were threatened with elimination from group stage, and neither team wanted to lose.
The first fixture of the day has often seen few goals, especially in the first half due to the heat in Qatar. This was not the case for this clash.
Serbia had control of the game for 29 minutes, with Aleksandar Mitrovic hitting the post. But it was Cameroon that opened the scoring through Jean-Charles Castelletto with an easy tap in.
Dragan Stojkovic's men reclaimed their domination near the end of the first half, and equalised through Strahinja Pavlovic's header from a corner in the first minute of added time.
Two minutes later, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic put Serbia ahead with a strike from 17 metres moments before the half-time whistle.
Serbia continue their command of the game after the break, and scored their third in the 53rd minute with a fine team play leading to Mitrovic hammering home.
Stojkovic's men took their foot off the gas, and gave Cameroon a chance to revitalise. In the 64th minute, substitute Aboubakar cleverly broke the offside trap and scored with a cheeky lob to make it 2-3.
Just two minutes later, Bayern Munich's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting finished a fine counter attack to make it 3-3.
Both teams push on forward for the win, but none can find their opponents' net in the remaining time.
Casemiro volley sends Brazil to Round of 16
|Casemiro celebrating the winning goal for Brazil. — AFP/VNA Photo|
Brazil became the second team to reach the knock-out stages after France, beating Switzerland by a single goal.
A disciplined Switzerland proved a challenge for the Brazilians, stopping Vinicius Junior and Richarlison with glorious chances, on the day where Neymar did not feature due to injury.
Brazil fans at the 974 Stadium were anxious, but breathed a sigh of relief in the 84th minute, when Casemiro concluded a great play with a half-volley into the back of Yann Sommer's net.
The Manchester United midfielder's strike sent the yellow crowd into a frenzy, and was applauded by legends Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Kaká in the VIP box.
South Korea on verge of elimination
With nothing to lose after their 2-3 defeat at the hands of Portugal, Ghana went all out attack against South Korea.
The Black Stars were under intense pressure against Paulo Bento's side in the first twenty minutes, but the African side soon found an opening after strong defending.
From a corner, Southampton's Mohamed Salisu beat Kim Seung-gyu with a vicious header. The ball seemed to have hit the hand of Andre Ayew in the leadup, but referee Anthony Taylor allowed the goal, after consultation with VAR.
South Korea lost their concentration, and conceded a second ten minutes later, this time from Mohamed Kudus' close range header.
Bento brought on Na Sang-ho and Lee Kang-in to widen the attack, and Son Heung-min played deeper as an attacking midfielder.
The substitutions helped South Korea tremendously, as they scored two to equalise in the space of three minutes. In the 58th minute, Cho Gue-sung headed in a great cross from Lee Kang-in to make it 1-2, before equalising in a similar fashion in the 61st minute.
With momentum on their side, Korea pushed forward, but allowed spaces in their defence. Ghana successfully exploited with a counter attack in the 68th minute, where Inaki Williams made it 3-2 for Ghana.
Bento played with four strikers in the latter part of the match, but cannot find Ghana's net and three points went to the Black Stars.
Bruno helps Portugal ease past Uruguay
|Bruno Fernandes (8) was instrumental in Portugal's victory. — AFP/VNA Photo|
Elsewhere in Group H, a brace from Bruno Fernandes ensured qualification for the Portuguese, at the expense of Uruguay.
Fernandes could have scored a hat-trick, had he not hit the post in the final minutes of added time.
Cristiano Ronaldo started the match, and seemed to have scored Portugal's opening goal in the 54th minute with a header. However, replays showed that Ronaldo did not touch the ball and the credit went to Fernandes.
Uruguay had a golden chance to equalise in the 75 minute, had Maximiliano Gomez's curled shot not hit the woodwork.
Ronaldo was subbed off in the 82nd minute, and only eight minutes later Portugal get a penalty. A signature jump runup penalty from Fernandes doubled Portugal's lead, and sealed their qualification.
With these results, Uruguay must win against Ghana, and Portugal not lose against South Korea on Friday for Darwin Nunez and company to qualify. On the other side, a point against South Korea is enough for Portugal to avoid Brazil in the Round of 16. — VNS