By Vaz Armstrong
Doha (Qatar), Dec 3 (IANS) Cameroon defeated a second-string Brazil 1-0 but could not make it to the knockout stage with Switzerland upstaging them after their 3-2 win over Serbia in the other Group H match played at Lusail. Stadium on Friday night.
Vincent Aboubakar headed the match winning goal in stoppage time but his joy immediately turned to disappointment as he was given a second yellow card for taking his shirt off. Cameroon had acquitted themselves well throughout as Bryan Mbuemo’s shot saw Brazil keeper Ederson, deputizing for Liverpool keeper Alisson bring off a superlative save.
Cameroon’s chances of qualifying vanished in thin air with Switzerland’s victory over Serbia ended their chances of reaching the last 16. With his side having already qualified after their first two games, Brazil coach Tite made 10 changes and Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli took the chance to impress with a fine performance in which he was thwarted on several occasions by Cameroon keeperDevis Epassy, who had an outstanding match bringing off at least seven saves.
The Brazilian defeat means no team won all their group games in Qatar.
The first knockout round line-up is now complete with eight European sides, two South American teams, two from Africa, three from the Asian Football Confederation including Australia, and the US.
In the other match of Friday night at the 974 Stadium, Switzerland beat Serbia 3-2 to book a third straight last 16 qualification spot at the World Cup. The second place team from Group H will take on Group G winners Portugal on December 6 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Brazil, the Group G winners, will take on South Korea on December 5 at 974 Stadium. At the end of the opening half the teams shared two goals apiece.
Switzerland which started with a 1-0 win over Cameroon and then lost to five-time champions Brazil and with Friday’s win finished with six points and thus qualified as the second place team from the group.
With Switzerland qualifying for the knockouts the 16 teams for the last 16 stage have been identified.
South Korea, Japan, Spain, Morocco, Croatia, Argentina, Poland, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, England, France, the Netherlands, Senegal, Switzerland and the USA.
Here are the Last 16 fixtures at the Qatar World Cup (times in GMT):
December 3 – Netherlands v USA, Al Rayyan (1500) and Argentina v Australia, Al Rayyan (1900); December 4 – France v Poland, Doha (1500) and England v Senegal, Al Khor (1900); December 5 – Japan v Croatia, Al Wakrah (1500) and Brazil v South Korea, Doha (1900); December 6 – Morocco v Spain, Doha (1600) and Portugal v Switzerland, Lusail (1900).