World Cup: Brazil, Switzerland Advance From Group E; Germany Crashes Out - NBC 7 San Diego
2018 FIFA World Cup

2018 FIFA World Cup

Sixty-four matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities in Russia

World Cup: Brazil, Switzerland Advance From Group E; Germany Crashes Out

Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 earlier in the day but the Mexicans advanced despite the loss when South Korea upset defending champion Germany 2-0

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    German players (at left) and Mexican players (at right) during their simultaneous final World Cup group matches on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Germany lost to South Korea while Mexico lost to Sweden. The results meant that Mexico and Sweden progressed to the group stage of the tournament.

    Worried no more, Brazil is through at the World Cup.

    Paulinho and Thiago Silva scored a goal each Wednesday to give the five-time champions a 2-0 victory over Serbia and first place in their group.

    Brazil struggled in its opening two matches, first held to a 1-1 draw and then needing late goals to win the other. But they controlled this one, and it was a big relief to Tite.

    "I'm apparently at peace," the Brazil coach said. "I'm still going to have a drink tonight for sure, a caipirinha. I'll allow myself."

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    Paulinho gave his team the lead when he met a lofted ball from Philippe Coutinho in the 36th minute. The defensive midfielder let the ball bounce in front of him near the penalty spot and kicked his right leg in the air to tap it over the goalkeeper's fingertips.

    Silva later scored with a powerful header in the 68th from Neymar's corner.

    Brazil finished first in Group E and will next face Mexico in the round of 16 on Monday in Samara. Serbia was eliminated, finishing third in the group behind Switzerland.

    Both of Brazil's goals came when Serbia threatened to get back into the match.

    The Serbs nearly scored in the 61st when Brazil goalkeeper Alisson pushed the ball into the path of forward Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose shot bounced off the keeper and was bound for goal before being cleared by Silva.

    "In the second half we tried to play with more risk," Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic said. "We had chances to equalize, but we missed our chances and we were punished."

    For most of the first half, Brazil couldn't break through Serbia's compact back line. But Paulinho, the player that Tite calls his "secret weapon," lived up to his name by scoring the first goal at Spartak Stadium.

    Four years ago, Paulinho was part of the Brazil team that was humiliated at home in a 7-1 drubbing by Germany in the semifinals. He said he's learned so much since then, leaving Tottenham for a spell in China before joining Barcelona.

    "A lot has changed in my life and my career," he said. "I have to be aware of the evolution I have undergone in these last four years. My leaving England for China was good for me, did me well. ... I recovered my self-confidence. I am here because I worked and I deserve it. In four years, I really developed a lot."

    Brazil had an early setback when left back Marcelo was substituted in the 10th minute, limping off the field. Filipe Luis, who is playing at his first World Cup after failing to be selected in 2010 and 2014, was brought on to replace him.

    The Brazilian soccer confederation later said Marcelo only had a back spasm and was fine.

    This was a more assured performance from Brazil compared to its first two group matches. There was patient buildup play and the Brazilians sometimes rested in possession, exchanging short passes in their own half to slow down play.

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    Brazil did what it had to do to win, making sure it wasn't the second big team to exit the tournament after 2014 champion Germany was knocked out by South Korea.

    Elsewhere:

    Switzerland 2, Costa Rica 2

    Switzerland is through to a knockout game against Sweden at the World Cup. Half of its starting defense isn't.

    Switzerland qualified second in Group E behind Brazil despite twice losing the lead in a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica on Wednesday night. The riveting game culminated with an injury-time penalty from Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz that hit the crossbar and went in off Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer's head.

    Despite the late drama, a draw was enough to send Switzerland through to the knockout stage.

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    But the bad news for the Swiss: Yellow cards for captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and fellow defender Fabian Schaer — their second of the tournament — meant they'll be suspended for the Sweden match in St. Petersburg.

    Their absence leaves two gaping holes to be filled at the back as Switzerland chases a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time since 1954.

    "This is certainly not an ideal scenario," Switzerland midfielder Blerim Dzemaili said. "We don't need to look at who's not there, we need to look at who will be able to play. This is very disappointing."

    Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic's gamble to play the two key defenders while they were already on yellow cards backfired in a game where the team only needed a draw to progress. As it turned out, Switzerland could have lost to already-eliminated Costa Rica and still gone through because Brazil beat Serbia 2-0.

    Serbia had a chance to pass Switzerland for second place, but Brazil ended up dominating that match. Brazil will face Group F runner-up Mexico Monday and Switzerland plays Sweden Tuesday.

    "I think the team can cope (against Sweden)," Petkovic said. "It's too bad for those two guys but it's too late now to lament that and correct that."

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    Right back Lichtsteiner received his yellow for a studs-up tackle in the first half. Central defender Schaer got his late on, with seven minutes to go of normal time.

    Switzerland had led Costa Rica against the run of play in Nizhny Novgorod when Dzemaili slammed in the first goal from close range in the 31st minute.

    Dzemaili didn't replicate the politically charged double-headed Albanian eagle hand-signal celebrations that Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Lichtsteiner all used in the game against Serbia that earned them combined fines of $25,000 from FIFA.

    Costa Rica decided they had had enough of being losers at this World Cup.

    The Central Americans avoided being the only team to go home from Russia without a goal when defender Kendall Waston rose to head in a corner early in the second half to equalize at 1-1.

    Substitute Josip Drmic put Switzerland ahead again with a first-time shot from a cross in the 88th minute.

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    Costa Rica, surprise quarterfinalists in Brazil four years ago, lifted themselves again.

    Moments after referee Clement Turpin of France consulted the video assistant referee and turned down a Costa Rica penalty claim, Los Ticos did get a spot-kick.

    Joel Campbell was hacked down on the left side of the penalty area by Denis Zakaria in injury time, giving Ruiz the chance to send Costa Rica home with the consolation of a point for a draw. 

    He took it, via the back of goalie Sommer's head. The goal was given as an own goal by Sommer. That brought the World Cup total to eight own goals, already two higher than the 1998 record.

    Sweden 3, Mexico 0

    Sweden was so dominant against Mexico at the World Cup that the best Mexican plays of the night were made 600 miles away by South Koreans.

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    The Swedes rolled to a 3-0 rout Wednesday, never challenged in the second half, overtaking Mexico to win Group F just four nights after a gut-wrenching last-minute loss to Germany. The result, combined with South Korea's 2-0 upset of the Germans, meant Sweden and Mexico — the group runner-up — advanced.

    The defending champions from Germany go home early.

    Sweden makes its first appearance in the knockout stage since 2006. Mexico plays in the round of 16 for the seventh straight World Cup, with its fans desperate for its first quarterfinal appearance in 32 years — the elusive "quinto partido," or fifth game.

    Sweden didn't want to focus on getting revenge by helping eliminate Germany, which got some favorable calls in a tense 2-1 victory over the Swedes on Saturday night.

    "We grew another little bit," Sweden coach Janne Andersson said. "I am not going to sit here and gloat having won a match or boast about a win. We don't want to stir things up too much."

    Ludwig Augustinsson volleyed a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa from close range five minutes into the second half, and captain Andreas Granqvist converted a penalty kick to help Sweden take control.

    Mexico's Edson Alvarez had an own goal in the 74th minute to put the game out of reach at 3-0.

    It capped an emotional week for the Blue-Yellow. The team made a unified statement Sunday defending teammate Jimmy Durmaz from criticism and racist attacks after his late foul led to a free kick that won the game for Germany.

    "A few days ago we lost in the last minute and we were very disappointed, and now we come back and beat Mexico," Augustinsson said. "I think we deserved to win the group, and Mexico deserved to be second."

    As Sweden's lead grew, Mexican fans paid more attention to the other game, rooting against Germany, which could have passed Mexico with a victory depending on tiebreakers.

    El Tri's faithful could be seen frantically checking their phones for scoring updates from Germany's game soon after Sweden's second goal. After South Korea's first goal, they let up a loud cheer and tossed drinks in the air as their chances of advancing improved.

    Great organization and some fortunate timing played out in the second half for Sweden. Augustinsson scored when the ball luckily landed in his path following a mistimed shot from Viktor Claesson popped up to his teammate.

    After Granqvist's penalty kick, Sweden took total control. Alvarez's own goal occurred when he was trying to prevent Ola Toivonen from connecting with the ball, deflecting it with his arm past Ochoa.

    "We just need to move on," Ochoa said. "This is the World Cup. We can't pull it out of our pocket, it's not going to be easy and I think it's a good lesson for what's to come."

    Said coach Juan Carlos Osorio: "We have to say we qualified because we beat Germany and Korea. However and nevertheless, I am very hurt."

    Alvarez's own goal was the seventh overall of the World Cup, one more than the previous record in 1998.

    Mexico's Jesus Gallardo was called for a yellow card just 13 seconds in — believed to be the fastest in World Cup history — setting up the first of two quick set-piece opportunities Sweden could not take advantage of. 

    South Korea 2, Germany 0

    Everyone was waiting for Germany to score another late World Cup-saving goal.

    It never came.

    Instead, the Germans have become the fourth defending champions in the last five tournaments to be eliminated in the group stage following a 2-0 loss to South Korea on Wednesday.

    The four-time champions allowed a pair of injury-time goals while knowing a 1-0 victory would have been enough to advance because of the result in the other group match.

    "It's very, very hard to put it into words," said Germany defender Mats Hummels, a member of the team that won in Brazil four years ago. "We believed until the end today. Even when it was 0-1, I think we kept trying to turn it all around."

    Germany ended up last in Group F while Sweden and Mexico advanced to the round of 16. South Korea was also eliminated despite the victory.

    It was the first time Germany has been knocked out in the first round since 1938, though the team was not allowed to enter the 1950 tournament.

    "It's a dark day for German football," Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said.

    Even in Yekaterinburg, nearly 500 miles away, the Mexican fans expected Germany to score. They were still in position to advance despite trailing Sweden, but they were waiting — some with tears in their eyes — for Germany to do the inevitable and ruin their chances of moving on.

    That's when South Korea stepped up.

    Kim Young-gwon scored the first goal in the third minute of injury time, a goal that sent the Koreans cheering in Kazan and the Mexicans delirious in Yekaterinburg. Originally called out for offside, the goal was given after video review.

    Son Heung-min made it 2-0 in the sixth minute of stoppage time after Neuer came up the field to help his teammates outside the South Korea box. Son tapped the ball into an empty net after a long pass from Ju Se-jong.

    Besides Germany this year, France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014 were the previous defending champions to get eliminated in the group stage.

    "We deserved to be eliminated," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "For us, this is a huge disappointment. But we have young players who are talented and have the potential to go forward. It happened to other nations before. We need to draw the right conclusions."

    All four teams in the group had a chance to advance in games that were being played simultaneously, but Sweden's 3-0 lead over Mexico put Germany in prime position to move on as well -- if the Germans could score against the South Koreans.

    That was the problem, for Germany. 

    Loew had changed his line-up to mix youth with experience, calling back Hummels, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil while also fielding Niklas Suele and new Bayern signing Leon Goretzka. Suele made his first World Cup appearance as a replacement for Jerome Boateng.

    Germany made a nervous start, playing slower than it usually does to avoid being vulnerable on the break. But the strategy did not bring much success in the first half.

    The Germans kept peppering the South Korea box with harmless crosses and it was their opponents that came close to scoring from a set piece in the 19th minute after Neuer failed to control a 25-meter free kick from Jung Woo-young. The Germany keeper bobbled the ball and needed to swipe the rebound away from the attackers after a spectacular dive.

    The Germans continued at the same pedestrian pace after halftime and Ozil had another poor display, with many of his passes uncompleted.

    Loew brought on substitutes Mario Gomez and Thomas Mueller on either side of the 60-minute mark but his players kept giving the ball away, with most of their attacking combinations lacking precision and speed.

    Gomez had a decent header stopped by goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo in the 68th minute and could not properly connect with a low cross from Joshua Kimmich in the 72nd as Germany's hopes vanished.

    "We did not deserve to be winning the title once again," Loew said.