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Sports

5 shots from World Cup 2018 Day 9 - Brazil's Tite gets a nudge, but it was all for a happy ending!

media Nigeria's Ahmed Musa scores their first goal on 22 June 2018 in Volgograd. Reuters/Jorge Silva
  • Coach undamaged after bus parked

For 91 minutes Costa Rica were doughty in defence against Brazil. Brazilian tempers were fraying as a second successive draw loomed in Group E. But then Marcelo sent over a cross from the left, Roberto Firminho headed the ball down, Gabriel Jesus didn’t quite control it but the ball fell into the path of the onrushing Philippe Coutinho who rammed it through Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas and into the net. Cue wild celebration on the Brazil touchline. Such was the hysteria that reserve goalkeeper Ederson knocked over the manager Tite. Talk about giving the boss a nudge. But Tite rose unscathed to continue the merriment. They were both more circumspect when Neymar tapped in the second goal a few minutes later to complete a 2-0 victory.

  • Swiss roll

Switzerland gave themselves a very good chance of emerging out of Group E and into the knockout stages with a 2-1 victory over Serbia. It had started so well for the Serbs. A first half lead and some good chances to get the second. But it appeared as if they were winded once Granit Xhaka lashed home the equaliser just after half-time. Xherdan Shaqiri got the second in stoppage time. Four points from two games, the same tally as Brazil who are ahead on goal difference. Such will be the joy of the last round of games that Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia can all progress. The crunch will be Serbia v Brazil in Moscow. Serbia need all three points to advance while Brazil require just a draw. Will be very tense on 27 June.

  • Family time

The Iceland squad had a visit from their families just before their second game Group D game against Nigeria in Volgograd. The players were perky during the first half but wilted in the second as Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa bagged a brace. Surely that time with wives and girlfriends didn’t sap their energies? After all, Iceland was expecting. And perhaps in a few months some will be too.

  • Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think

Yep. Sure is. Was reminded of The Specials version of the song soon after talking to the Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson following their 2-0 defeat to Nigeria. “I hate losing,” Hallgrimsson told the review. “But it’s fantastic in general for Iceland to be in the World Cup. Maybe this will be the only time we are here.” The 51-year-old added: “We’re trying to improve our national team and the hope is that we can continue being in major finals like the World Cup and the European championships. It’s the first time we’ve played African teams and South American teams. It is all for the development of the squad.”

  • Super Eagles soar under Gernot Rohr

The review is telling it like it is. At last. Nigeria came good on day nine at the expense of Iceland. Nigeria exuded menace in the second half. And they now sit second in the group behind Croatia. Nigeria will advance with a result against Argentina. But that is not an easy task especially since Argentina can also move into the last 16 with a win coupled with an Icelandic defeat against Croatia. But the Nigerians have given themselves a chance.

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