Day 09 of the 21st FIFA World Cup has been quite thrilling as it brought hopes for few and disappointment for others.
In the Group-D match between Nigeria and Iceland, the former delivered an astonishing 2-0 victory at the Volgograd Arena on Friday. After a dry first half, Ahmed Musa won the points for Nigeria making the second half interesting.
The result did Argentina a big favour in the process as it gave a slight lift to the stressed group rivals. Nigeria could now move on if it beat Argentina, but it could also draw and advance as long as Iceland does not beat Croatia.
In one of the two Group-E matches of Friday, a last-minute goal from Xherdan Shaqiri earned Switzerland 2-1 win over Serbia at the Kaliningrad Stadium.
While Aleksandar Mitrovic gave Serbia a lead in the fifth minute of the game, Switzerland’s equaliser came in second half after a long range strike by Granit Xhaka in the 52nd minute.
The defeat leaves Serbia heading into their last Group E game against Brazil knowing only a win can guarantee them a spot in the knockout stages.
As an independent nation, Serbia now has lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded.
On the other side, Switzerland will next meet already-eliminated Costa Rica.
Another Group-E between Brazil and Costa Rica had been a nail biting match. Star striker Neymar and midfielder Philippe Coutinho pulled up injury-time goals as second-ranked Brazil brushed aside 23rd-ranked Costa Rica 2-0 at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
Coutinho scored in the first minute of stoppage time to give Brazil a 1-0 lead over Costa Rica, which had been joined by Neymar as he notched his first goal of the World Cup to hand Brazil 2-0 win over their opponent.
With their first win of the tournament, Brazil now have four points from two matches they have played, and are almost certain to qualify into the next round.
On the other hand, Costa Rica has been knocked out of the tournament after failing to notch any point from two games.
Brazil will next lock horns with Serbia at Spartak Stadium in Moscow on June 27.