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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 October 2018

World Cup 2018 Day 9 as it happened: Delight for Switzerland as Brazil and Nigeria win

Victories for Brazil, Nigeria and Switzerland on the ninth day of action in Russia

Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his winning goal for Switzerland. Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters
Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his winning goal for Switzerland. Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

12.25am - Saturday's action

Right, that is Friday done and dusted.

Plenty to look forward to on Saturday. We start off with Belgium v Panama in Group G at 4pm, with the Belgians knowing another win will effectively clinch a spot in the second round.

Mexico are in the same boat when they go up against South Korea at 7pm in a game where a second defeat, after losing to Sweden, will eliminate the Koreans.

Then world champions Germany know they must get something out of Sweden at 10pm if they are to have any chance of reaching the second round.

It should be another great day of action. See you tomorrow.

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Midnight - Switzerland win 2-1

Not often you can call this blog prophetic. But at half time we stated that it might be easier said than done for Serbia to keep doing what they were doing after they had gone in one up at the break.

So it proved. Switzerland hit back to firstly equalise through Granit Xhaka and then win it with a 90th-minute goal on the break from Xherdan Shaqiri.

So, now Switzerland know if they beat already eliminated Costa Rica in their final Group E match that they are through to the last 16, no matter what happens in the Brazil v Serbia match going on at the same time.

Given they have trailed in both their games so far, for Switzerland to have their own hands is a fine achievement with one game to go.

Serbia now face a tall order. They were 45 minutes from going through earlier. Now, realistically, they have to beat Brazil to stay in the tournament.

Tough one that.

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11.15pm Switzerland level things

They did it against Brazil and they have done it again here. Switzerland have found a second-half equaliser, this time Granit Xhaka finding the net with a terrific effort.

1-1. All to play for

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10.55pm Serbia 45 minutes from second round

Sounds simple. 45 minutes from the last 16. All Serbia need to do, as they lead 1-0 against Switzerland at half time in their Group E clash, is more of the same.

But, of course that is easier said than done. Switzerland trailed at half time on Sunday against Brazil and came back to draw and they need a repeat effort here to keep themselves in with a realistic hope of making the knockout stages.

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10.20pm Serbia lead

Well, that started well for Serbia. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads home Dusan Tadic's centre to go give them an early lead.

Twenty minutes in and if it stays like this Serbia are through to the last 16.

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10pm Serbia's chance

Serbia v Switzerland is the final game of the day and it is underway.

If the Serbians win they will qualify for the last 16, joining Uruguay, Russia, France and Croatia who are already through.

A draw still puts them in a good position, but a Switzerland win puts the advantage firmly in their court.

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9.15pm Nigeria win

Nigeria are the 2-0 victors thanks to Ahmed Musa's double. The Leicester City man netted both goals in the second half and he has put the African side in with a decent shot of making the knockout stages for the fourth time in their history.

Nigeria had a late scare when Iceland won a penalty, awarded via VAR, but they avoided a nervous last few minutes as Gylfi Sigurdsson skied the spot-kick over the bar.

The permutations for Nigeria now is pretty simple. Win against Argentina on Tuesday in their final Group D match and they are in the last 16.

Draw and Iceland must beat already qualified Croatia by three goals or more to usurp them from second spot.

If they lose Argentina will qualify, unless Iceland beat Croatia by a bigger winning margin then what the South Americans manage.

Got all of that? Tuesday is going to be fun.

One more game to come today in Group E. If Serbia beat Switzerland they are through to the last 16 for the first time since 1998.

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8.35pm Brilliance from Musa

That is brilliant, just brilliant.

Ahmed Musa runs on to a ball down the left flank, uses pace and strength to hold off a defender, rounds the goalkeeper and then calm as you like, with two Icelanders between him and the goal, curls it into the net for his second goal.

Excellent goal and an excellent performance that appears set to give Nigeria only their second win at a World Cup since 1998.

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8.15pm Nigeria lead

We have a goal! Ahmed Musa fires home from close range after getting on the end of a Victor Moses centre.

Iceland had been the better side in first half but the Nigerians have started the second half with purpose.

Iceland hit back well when they went behind to Argentina in their first Group D game and they need a similar response now.

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7.55pm - Iceland and Nigeria goalless

Not the greatest 45 minutes you will ever sit through. Both sides have work to do and arguably the side most happy with this as it stands is Argentina, though they will still arguably prefer a Nigeria win to keep their destiny in their owns.

There is 45 minutes to go and both sides must raise their game as their is a great chance to move close to a spot in the last 16 up for grabs here.

6.50pm - Iceland v Nigeria

Now we are on to our second game, in Group D, at 7pm between Iceland and Nigeria.

A win for Iceland would put them in a cracking position to qualify for the last 16, as they would only need to draw their final game on Tuesday with Croatia to eliminate Argentina.

But, to do that they must Nigeria, who need to win to boost their chances of qualification, and at the very least draw to keep their own hopes of reaching the knockout stages intact.

It should be a fun evening's action.

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6pm - Brazil 2 Costa Rica 0 at full time

Philippe Coutinho to the rescue for Brazil as they win, having waited to the 91st minute to score. He gets on the end of Roberto Firmino's knockdown header in the first minute of stoppage time to fire home and give Brazil a victory that puts them top of Group E, at least for now.

Neymar adds a second in the fourth minute of added time as he taps into an empty net.

It had looked like it would be a frustrating afternoon for Tite's men. They struggled to breakthrough Costa Rica's rearguard action. Tempers rose when they were awarded a penalty after Neymar went down under a challenge, but was overturned on VAR after it was deemed the contact was not sufficient to be judged a foul.

Neymar sits on the pitch post-match in tears. Of relief perhaps?

Serbia play Switzerland in the second Group E match at 10pm. The result of this is a Serbia win would put them in the last 16.

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4.55pm - Brazil 0 Costa Rica 0 at half time

It would be fair to say we have yet to see Brazil really hit their stride in Russia. Another average first 45 minutes here. Lots of good possession but not much in the way of an end product.

Costa Rica have looked comfortable and a threat on the break.

Tite and Brazil must find another gear in the second half if they are to get their first win on the board.

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4.15pm - We are underway

Brazil v Costa Rica is goalless after the opening 10 minutes. Little to report so far. Brazil in the ascendancy but yet to cause Costa Rica any real dramas.

3.05pm - Neymar starts for Brazil

Good news for Brazil. Neymar has shaken off an ankle injury and he lines up for Brazil in their starting 11 for their Group E match with Costa Rica, which starts at 4pm.

There is one change for Brazil, with Manchester City full-back Danilo out with a thigh injury and he is replaced by Fagner.

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12.55pm - Focus on Brazil

If Thursday was looking at one misfiring South American side in Argentina, Friday is looking at another one in the shape of Brazil.

Brazil showed glimpses of brilliance against Switzerland on Sunday, but poor finishing and play in the final third and some sloppy defending cost them as they were held to a 1-1 draw.

Three points against Costa Rica at 4pm UAE time would put them in a strong position to reach the last 16.

Ian Hawkey was at Brazil's news conference on Thursday where the focus is not just improving, but also being less reliant on forward Neymar.

Ian's story can be read here.

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12.10pm Dalic wants Croatia to stay humble

The former Al Ain manager Zlatko Dalic is certainly enjoying life at the World Cup. Two games equals two wins and a place in the last 16 already booked.

But, having deservedly beaten Argentina 3-0 on Thursday night, Dalic wants his side to remain grounded and "humble".

Read John McAuley's story on Dalic's reaction to his side's successful start to the tournament here.

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9.20am Looking back and looking forward

Good morning! We are more than a week into World Cup 2018 and our first major shock elimination could be on the horizon.

Argentina's 3-0 hammering at the hands of Croatia in Group D as left the world champions and their star striker Lionel Messi in serious danger of being knocked out in the group stages at a World Cup for the first time since 2002, and only the second time in the past 56 years.

You can read John McAuley's report on an awful night for the double world champions here.

What Argentina need now is for Iceland not to beat Nigeria this afternoon, in the second Group D match, which kicks off at 7pm.

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Read more

World Cup talking points, Day 8: it’s all gone a bit Messi, French fancies and Latin passion

World Cup 2018: Day 8 as it happened - Croatia reach last 16 as penalty controversy hits Denmark

Mohammed Abdullah Hassan an authoritative figure as referee for France v Peru

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A Nigeria win would be most preferable, as that would keep Argentina's destiny in their own hands going into their final game, against Nigeria on Tuesday.

If Iceland draw, then a win against Croatia, who are already guaranteed a spot in the last 16, will eliminate Argentina no matter what they do against Nigeria.

Today's other action focuses on Group E. Brazil are in action at 4pm against Costa Rica. They had an underwhelming start, drawing 1-1 with Switzerland and need the three points to boost their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

Serbia, who beat Costa Rica in their first game, take on Switzerland, knowing a second victory will put them in the last 16.

Follow Friday's news and match updates here throughout the day.

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Visit our World Cup landing page to read expert opinion and features throughout the June 14-July 15 tournament.

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