Activate discovery+Sep 23
The greatest sporting show on earth continued with four more games on Thursday.
Switzerland edged Cameroon in their opener to get off to the perfect start before Uruguay and South Korea played out a goalless draw.
Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score at five different Fifa World Cups as Portugal beat Ghana in a thriller and Brazil opened their account with victory over Serbia.
The day’s results
Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon
Uruguay 0-0 South Korea
Portugal 3-2 Ghana
Brazil 2-0 Serbia
Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon
Switzerland’s World Cup campaign got off to a winning start after beating Cameroon with Breel Embolo scoring the only goal against the country of his birth.
Coach Murat Yakin described his current squad as the best Swiss national team that has ever existed at a World Cup before the opener, and they enjoyed a perfect start at the Al Janoub Stadium.
Embolo refused to celebrate when he gave Switzerland the lead shortly after half-time, but his goal proved decisive in a game of few chances.
The Monaco forward was born in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde but moved to Switzerland aged six and was granted citizenship eight years ago.
Competing in their eighth World Cup, Cameroon started brightly and could have taken the lead with Eric Choupo-Moting, Bryan Mbeumo and Martin Hongla all going close.
But Switzerland regrouped at half-time and were the better team after Embolo’s goal. They had several chances to extend their lead as The Indomitable Lions pressed for an equaliser, but they couldn’t find a way past André Onana who was in excellent form.
Cameroon have now lost eight consecutive games at World Cup finals and are up against it in an awkward group also containing Serbia and favourites Brazil.
“It’s difficult to lose a game we dominated in the first half,” said coach Rigobert Song. “I feel disappointed, but we have only three players with previous World Cup experience – and there are two more games.”
There are high expectations in the Swiss camp, and it was the ideal start for them with Brazil to come on Monday. “We can beat anyone” said Granit Xhaka after the hard-fought win.
Uruguay 0-0 South Korea
Uruguay and South Korea was the fourth game at the World Cup to finish goalless.
South Korea, with forward Son Heung-min wearing a mask to protect a broken left eye socket, controlled most of the first half without creating many clear-cut opportunities.
The South Americans, complete with current and former Liverpool forwards Darwin Nunez and Luis Suarez, grew into the game and could have snatched victory.
Captain Diego Godin headed a corner against the post on his 160th international appearance and Real Madrid star Federico Valverde also struck the woodwork with a rasping effort with minutes remaining.
South Korea’s best chance fell to Olympiacos forward Hwang Ui-jo who fired over from close range after a superb team move.
Managed by Portugal’s Paulo Bento, Korea monopolised possession while Diego Alonso’s side were content to sit back and spring counter-attacks utilising the pace of Nunez on the break.
In the end both were left frustrated in a competitive draw at the Education City Stadium. It was a compelling encounter between two sides with contrasting styles but one that ultimately ended in another stalemate.
The result puts pressure on both teams in what promises to be a tight group, with Uruguay taking on Portugal and South Korea facing Ghana next.
Portugal 3-2 Ghana
Portugal suffered a late scare but held on to claim all three points.
In the last minute of injury time Portugal's goalkeeper Diogo Costa, in an attempt to run the final few seconds down, dropped the ball at his feet as he prepared to punt it upfield.
He didn't notice that Inaki Williams was lurking behind him ready to pounce. Williams made it to the ball, but slipped at the vital moment and was only able to weakly prod the ball towards goal, giving the keeper and his defenders time to recover.
It was a case of what might have been for Ghana.
Before that final piece of drama, Cristiano Ronaldo had seemingly stolen the headlines, scoring in a record fifth World Cup.
In the first half Ronaldo had a number of chances, including a disallowed effort for a push in the build up, before finally taking a tumble in the box under the challenge of Crystal Palace defender Mohammed Salisu early in the second half. Contact was minimal and the penalty decision left the Ghanaians fuming, but Ronaldo stepped up to score from 12 yards.
But Ghana looked good on the break too and in the 73rd-minute Andre Ayew prodded home from close range after Mohammed Kudus broke free on the left-hand side and fired in a cross.
That goal gave Ghana hope they could go on and win, but Portugal had other ideas.
Five minutes after Ghana's goal, Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes played a ball through to Joao Felix, who calmly lifted the ball over the advancing Ghana keeper, Lawrence Ati-Zigi.
Then two minutes later Fernandes found substitute Rafael Leão in the box, who clinically side-footed the ball into the far corner.
Ghana gave themselves hope late on when Osman Bukari nodded in from another cross from the left and promptly celebrated with a Ronaldo 'Siu' celebration.
Had it not been for Williams' slip at the end, Ghana would've snatched a point.
Brazil 2-0 Serbia
After a first half that saw Serbia more than match a Brazil side jam-packed with attacking talent, the Salecao came to life in the second forty-five, putting in a classic Brazilian World Cup display.
The best chance in the first half fell to Vinícius Júnior, who was only just beaten to the ball inside the box by Serbia goalkeeper Vanja Milinković-Savić.
Former Leeds forward Raphinha found himself in with just the keeper to beat after a classy Brazil build up, but lacked the finishing touch.
Serbia defended well, but created very little going forward.
In the second half Brazil went up a gear. Alex Sandro smashed a long-range effort against the post, while Neymar blazed wide inside the box. Raphinha had another golden opportunity to score, but shot tamely at Milinković-Savić.
In the 62nd-minute Brazil got their breakthrough. Neymar dribbled into the box and Vinícius Júnior hit a shot which Serbia's keeper could only parry. Richarlison was first to react, prodding the ball in from close range.
Then in the 73rd-minute Richarlison scored a stunning second, lighting up this World Cup with the tournment's best goal so far.
Casemiro hit the bar late on with a curling effort from outside the box as Brazil looked like real World Cup contenders.
Goal of the day
Spurs' forward Richarlison's second goal was a classic Brazilian World Cup strike - stylish, skillful and utterly entertaining.
Vinícius Júnior ran into the Serbian box from the left-hand side and with the outside of his boot played in a sumptuous cross to Brazil's number 9.
Richarlison's first touch lifted the ball high over his head, then a acrobatic scissor-kick saw the ball fly into the net. Brazilian magic!
Save of the day
Early in the second half, Milinković-Savić played a poor pass out to Nemanja Gudelj. Raphinha hussled him off the ball and found himself with just the keeper to beat, but the 6"8" stopper spread himself well to atone for his error and keep the scores level.
Player of the day
With so much attacking talent on show it was Brazil's goalscoring machine, Richarlison, that stole the headlines.
In the second half Spurs' forward looked every bit a Brazilian striker - first reacting quickest in the six-yard box to give Brazil the lead then creating a bit of magic to secure the win.
Questions were asked as to how a player that hasn't yet scored in the Premier League for Tottenham gets into the Brazil side ahead of Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus, but Richarlison answered those critics in style as he shot to joint-top of the top goalscorer table at this World Cup.
- Ronaldo's face from the touchline as he saw Portugal's keeper almost throw points away at the end of injury time.
- Ronaldo's Siuuu celebration in front a fan's flag of Messi.
- South Korea fans paid tribute to Son Heung-Min by wearing masks in the stands during their World Cup opener against Uruguay.
- Cameroon boss Rigobert Song said he is proud of ‘little brother’ Breel Embolo despite scoring the winner against his side. The Switzerland forward was born in Yaounde.
- Richarlison and Dani Alves on the bench pulling faces to the camera.
Quote of the day
Ghana boss Otto Addo on Ronaldo's record-breaking penalty:
"The referee gave a penalty which was not a penalty - everyone saw that. Why? Because it's Ronaldo or something?
"I have no proof if he would have decided differently for someone else. There was a contact of players. I don't know what they were doing, was VAR not paying attention?
"The referee was not in our favour today."
Image of the day
Switzerland’s Breel Embolo refused to celebrate after scoring the only goal against Cameroon, the country of his birth, in the Group G clash.
The Monaco forward moved to Switzerland from Cameroon with his family aged six and received Swiss citizenship eight years ago.
He finished off a slick attack shortly after half time to give his side a crucial opening victory in one of the toughest groups in the tournament.
Said on social
Friday 25 November:
Group B: Wales vs Iran - 10am KO
Group A: Qatar vs Senegal - 1pm KO
Group A: Netherlands vs Ecuador - 4pm KO
Group B: England vs USA - 7pm KO