Brazil beat Serbia to book date with Mexico in round of 16

Tyler Owen
June 28, 2018

Brazil is through with just a draw, while a win sees them win the group.

However, Tite was forced into an early change as left-back Marcelo exited in the 10th minute with back spasms and was replaced by Atletico Madrid's Felipe Luis.

Paulinho and Thiago Silva earned Brazil a largely comfortable 2-0 victory over Serbia that clinched top spot in World Cup Group E and eliminated Mladen Krstajic's side.

A second goal demoralised Serbia as Brazil regained their fluency, the influential Coutinho seeing a fine shot deflected narrowly wide and Stojkovic twice denying an onrushing Neymar, as they closed out the win with relative ease.

Brazil started strongly and, were it not for back-to-back offside calls, Neymar and Gabriel Jesus could have each found the net in the opening 10 minutes.

Serbia's reliable threats Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Aleksandar Kolarov and Aleksandar Mitrovic were sniffing around but were short of any openings.

Brazil took the lead in the 36th minute when Paulinho raced through to on to through ball by Philippe Coutinho to lob over the on-rushing goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.

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Cho Yong-geun during a meeting at the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine office in Paju, South Korea, Monday, June 25, 2018. The South Korean prime minister said moving the artillery is under discussion amid thawing bilateral tensions.

It stayed that way until half-time, but the Serbs started the second half on the front foot, with Mitrovic in particular guilty of spurning two chances to equalize when well-placed. Serbia can advance with a draw if Switzerland loses to Costa Rica, coupled with help in goal differential.

And once Thiago Silva extended Brazil's advantage with an unmarked header from a corner, Tite's side regained a measure of composure and went close to a third on numerous occasions.

Serbia repeatedly struggled to contain Brazil's fleet-footed attack.

That spell around the hour proved Serbia's high water mark, however, as Brazil made it 2-0 when Silva rose high to thump home a Neymar corner after 68 minutes.

The selecao left their last match against Costa Rica late, but eventually put two past Keylor Navas in stoppage time to get the win.

Others in the last 16 will be wary - the five-time winners mean business in Russian Federation.

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