Samara’s Cosmos Arena was served a true stinker of a Second Round tie this afternoon, with France and Brazil labouring through ninety minutes. In the 18th meeting between the two nations (Brazil eight wins to Frances’s six), a goal from Ramires 20 minutes from full-time spared everyone involved an extra half-hour.
Three changes for France from their win over the States: Mamadou Sakho, Kurt Zouma, and Corentin Bernard came in to replace Raphaël Verane, Mapou Yanga, Mbiwa, and the injured Loïc Remy. Just one change for the 2014 champions: Dedé in for Rafael Tolói at centre-back.
Neymar had the first effort on goal in Samara, making one of his trademark mazy runs towards goal, beating two French defenders, but pulled his shot inches wide.
France only troubled Rafael twice over the course of the 90 minutes, with Antoine Griezmann and Etienne Capoue having shots from the edge of the box comfortably saved. Brazil had ever so slightly less possession, but made far more of the ball in the final third. However it took until the final quarter of the match for a breakthrough.
With the French defence restricting balls through the middle, Lucas Leiva went long instead, launching one over the top for Ramires to latch on to, beating Lucas Digne before controlling and slotting past Steve Mandanda for the only goal of the game. Brazil will meet the winners between Colombia and Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals.
FIFA WORLD CUP: SECOND ROUND FRANCE 0-1 BRAZIL Ramires 70 M'Vila Leiva Rafael (RB)