What happened overnight?
Brazil scored two stoppage time goals to beat Costa Rica 2-0, getting the five-time champions back on track for a place in the round of 16.
Nigeria also beat Iceland 2-0 to keep alive their hopes of advancing from Group D.
And Switzerland came from behind to beat Serbia 2-1 in an absorbing contest, with both nations remaining in contention for the knockout rounds ahead of their final group matches.
Ahmed Musa became Nigeria’s all-time leading World Cup goalscorer, grabbing a vital brace in his side’s win over Iceland.
Nigeria, who would have exited the tournament with defeat here, didn’t manage a single first-half shot, but the energetic Musa netted one of the goals of the tournament to open the scoring early in the second half, expertly controlling a cross by Victor Moses before firing home from ten yards.
He then hit the bar before scoring his second with 15 minutes to go.
And Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri has many nicknames, including “Cube of Power”, “Magic Dwarf” and “Alpine Messi”, and he was again his country’s key man, scoring a late winner to further enhance his cult status.
Brazil’s big names eventually got the job done in stoppage time against Costa Rica, but they severely lack the flair and panache of the famous sides of 1970 and 1982.
They were headed for a second consecutive inglorious draw before being bailed out in added time and will need to show a lot more if they’re to progress deep into the tournament.
Oh, and the VAR (again), who ignored some serial penalty area rugby tackling in the Serbia v Switzerland game. Remind me why they’re there again?
None of the first 26 matches at the World Cup have ended 0-0 – no World Cup has gone longer without a goalless draw.
Brazil’s Neymar has been fouled 14 times so far at the 2018 World Cup, more than any other player.
At 19 years, 237 days, Nigeria’s Francis Uzoho became the second youngest goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in World Cup history, older only than North Korea’s Li Chan-Myong (19 years 198 days) who famously shut out Italy in 1966.
Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic’s opener was his country’s first ever headed goal at any World Cup.
They said what?
Brazil coach Tite (who tripped over as he ran on the field to celebrate Coutinho’s opener): “I think I kind of pulled a muscle. I’m limping now after the celebration. We were a bit over-excited.”
Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson: “We’ve played Croatia four times in four years and we’ve often said we’re like a married couple trying to get divorced but we always meet up again. They’ve had two really, really good performances in the World Cup. The last one was a shining example of how good Croatia is but that also gives us confidence because we were ahead of them in our [qualifying] group and have already beaten them once in Iceland.”
Did you know?
Neymar’s strike, timed at 96:49, was the latest recorded stoppage time goal in a World Cup match.
Staying and going
Russia, Uruguay, France and Croatia are confirmed in the round of 16.
Costa Rica join Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and Peru as group stage exitors.
Belgium look to build on their impressive opening performance and could qualify for the knockout rounds with a game to spare if they beat Tunisia at midnight (NZT).
Mexico, who were equally eye-catching in their opening game win over champions Germany, face South Korea at 3am.
And the Germans look to bounce back when they meet Sweden at 6am.