S2 SCORE with theSun June 18, 2018
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Switzerland hold five-time champs Brazil to 1-1 draw in opener S witzerland came up with a spiritedperformanceinholdingfive- time champions Brazil to a 1-1 draw in their World Cup opener earlier today. Brazil came out guns ablazing and went ahead in the 20thminute on a tantalizing long strike byPhilippeCoutinho. But Switzerland stood up to the Selecao with the equaliser in the 50th minute on a Steven Zuber header. And then the Nati held off the powerful Brazilian attack to grab the point. The draw gives both teams one point in GroupE–behindSerbiawhohavethreepoints after a 1-0win over CostaRica. The only time Switzerland and Brazil previouslymet intheWorldCupcame in1950, when Swiss Jacky Fatton scored in the 88th minute for a 2-2 draw. Captain Marcelo was the only starter in Brazil’s line-up that also featured in the first eleven inhiscountry’sembarrassing7-1 loss to Germany in the 2014WorldCup semifinals.
Neymar, whomissed the 2014moment-to- be forgotten with a broken bone in his back, was able to play even though coach Tite said hewas not “100%” fit. The first 10 minutes at Rostov Arena featured both teams feeling each other out withBrazil venturing forwarda bitmore. The SouthAmericanpowers justmissedgrabbing the lead in the 11th but Swiss keeper Yann Sommer did a good jobdeflecting away Paulinho’s left foot attempt. Sommer had no chance though in the 20th minute as the Brazilians took the lead on a brilliant effort by Coutinho. The midfielder touched down a clearance attempt before blastingasuperblongrangecurlerthatbanged off the far right post and in for his 11th goal for the Selecao . Switzerlandwereunable to really threaten theopposinggoal andweremoreconspicuous with their tough challenges on the Brazilian playmakers with Neymar spending his fair share of time on the ground grabbing various parts of his body. The action died down over the rest of the first half – thoughSwitzerlandcontrolledabit more of the possession – until Diego Silva nearly doubled the advantage in first half
stoppage time, sendinghis header off a corner just over the bar. Switzerland did not hang their heads and knotted the game just five minutes into the secondhalf on a set piece. Zuber gave Miranda a slight push in the back to create enough space to head home Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner kick from the right side in the 50thminute. Brazil tried to pick up the pressure but the Swiss defence continued to work hard to destroy their attacks, with yellow cards mounting and the instances with Neymar gettingbattered–withValonBehrami getting booked in the 68thminute for a challenge on the Paris St Germain star. Coutinho looked good to double his tally and put Brazil back ahead in the 70th minute but his right foot shotwent justwide right. Sommer was up to the task two minutes later as he batted away Roberto Firmino’s point blank header. The final Brazilian wave continued with Miranda sending a blast a minute later just wide left a minute later and then Swiss defender Fabian Schaer saved Renato Augusto’s shot at the line six minutes into stoppage time to save the point. – dpa
Lozano (35) Mexico
Nopointcrying: Gareca Coach Ricardo Gareca says Peru must re- cover quickly from losing their first game at a World Cup finals for 36 years to bounce back against France and keep their Russia 2018 hopes alive. Kasper Schmeichel’s acrobatic saves for Denmark and Yussuf Poulsen’s clinically taken second-half goal ended Peru’s 15-match un- beaten run in a 1-0 defeat in Saransk. “The result doesn’t really reflect what hap- pened on the pitch, but football is all about being effective,” said Peru’s Argentinian boss Gareca. “We had an enormous amount of fans and it was sad they came so far to see us lose, they deserved at least a draw. “We didn’t deserve to lose, but we can’t cry over spilt milk. Losing the first game doesn’t mean we are out,” said Gareca. “We need to see where we can correct our mistakes to face France in the best possible manner,” he added. ‘Badguy’ Yussufrelieved Yussuf Poulsen (pix) was relieved to go from “bad guy” to Denmark’s hero yesterday by ruining Peru’s first appearance at a World Cup finals for 36 years with the winning goal to seal a 1-0 victory in Saransk. Poulsen made amends after conceding a first-half penalty that was awarded after the referee consulted the VAR system, but which Peru midfielder Christian Cueva blasted over the crossbar. “It was an
Serbia’s defender Aleksandar Kolarov (left) celebrates after scoring pass Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas (inset: in green) during their Russia 2018World CupGroup Ematch at the Samara Arena yesterday. – afppix / reuterspix
emo t i o n a l game, espe- cially for me after giving away the penalty,” ad- mitted the 24-year-old man-of-the- match. “I thought
Kolarov curling freekickgives Serbia victory
Aspectacular Aleksandar Kolarov freekick gave Serbia a 1-0 win over Costa Rica inWorld Cup GroupEyesterday. Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas was his team’soutstandingperformer, keepingSerbiaat bay but he could do nothing to stop Kolarov’s shot from25metres on 56minutes. Their winning margin could have been greater but for Aleksandar Mitrovic’s poor finishing.Hewasput throughwith fourminutes left but stumbled over the ball and Navas gathered comfortably. Thevictorydeliveredapotentiallyvitalthree points for Serbia and left Costa Rica in a precarious position. “Maybe we have lost a certain margin for qualifying,” said Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez. “It’s going to be difficult, but our intention remains the same. I told the lads in the changing room ‘This isn’t over’.” If Costa Rica are going to recover, however, they will need to rediscover the defensive organisation and clinical counter-attacks that
propelled them to the quarterfinals four years ago.While anumber of their players remain the same fromBrazil, they lacked the energyof that side. CostaRicahadstartedbrightlyandGiancarlo Gonzalez should have put them ahead on 11 minutes but he got under his header from the edge of the six-yard box and sent the ball over. Mitrovic thenwent close at theother end for Serbiawith a deflected shot thatNavas saved. Branislav Ivanovic, setting a new record of 104gamesplayedforhiscountry,gotawaydown the right but saw his cross pushed away by Navas. The Costa Rica keeper came into his own again on 26 minutes when Kolarov launched a long ball into the area and Sergej Milinkovic- Savic took the ball nicely into his stride. He hit his shotwell butNavas saved. The 23-year-old Lazio midfielder was impressingandheforcedanotherfinesavefrom Navas with an overhead volley. The flag had been raised in error because Milinkovic-Savic was onside.
Five minutes into the second half Serbia should have scored again but oncemoreNavas reacted well to get down to his left and push Mitrovic’s shot away for a corner. Navaswasfinallybeatenon56minuteswhen Kolarovsteppedup to takea freekick.Hegot the ball up and over the wall, beyond Navas’ dive, and in off the inside of the left post. The spectacular shot was the third freekick goal of these finals after Aleksandr Golovin for Russia andCristianoRonaldo for Portugal. There was a bad-tempered end to the game with Aleksandar Prijovic lashing out at Johnny Acosta. CostaRicacoachOscarRamirez said: “Their goal changed everything. The first game is always difficult, we are not going to lose our minds over the defeat.” There were no exuberant celebrations, however, with Kolarov sounding a word of caution. “It is great tohave threepoints in thebag, but wearenotfinished…Idon’twanttodothemaths yet,” he said. – dpa
I was the bad guy, but then I was the good guy af- ter scoring – that’s theway football is. I’m grateful, we fought very well and gave it everything we had.”
Authorities in Lima estimate around 25,000 fans flew to Russia to see their team’s return to the World Cup and Saransk was a sea of Peru shirts. Their chants were near-deafening on occa- sion, as were the whistles each time Denmark had the ball or dared to attack. “Wewere a little bit afraidof the atmosphere and the intensity of it, that affected us,” Den- mark manager Age Hareide admitted.
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