Brazil outclass Serbia to qualify for last 16

World Cup 2018 Neymar Under Pressure As Brazil Aim Victory Against Serbia

The five-time champions Brazil aim to come out all guns blazing to secure a berth in last 16

Neymar was unlucky not to score 12 minutes after the restart - the excellent Coutinho finding the Paris Saint-Germain man racing behind the Serbia defence only to see his left-footed shot blocked by a quick-reacting Stojkovic.

Tite replaced Paulinho with Fernandinho as he sought greater stability, but it was Silva, capitalising on shoddy marking from Nemanja Matic, heading home at the near post from Neymar's left-wing corner two minutes later that truly gave him that. On the hour mark he failed to clear well a cross that put the ball on a plate for Mitrovic and the shotstopper was fortunate that Thiago Silva was on hand to clear.

"We respect their status as favourites to win but they have some weaknesses and we will try to exploit them". But Paulinho, the player that Tite calls his "secret weapon", lived up to his name by scoring the first goal at Spartak Stadium. "In four years, I really developed a lot".

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In a week in which numerous pre-tournament favourites have struggled, Brazil gave a very assured performance, particularly in the first half.

Brazil did what it had to do to win, making sure it wasn't the second big team to exit the tournament after 2014 champion Germany was knocked out by South Korea.

Brazil have stuttered through their first two matches, drawing with the Swiss before late goals from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar downed Costa Rica. The victory was good for first place.

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Switzerland also advanced after a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica and will next face Sweden on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

In all competitions, Brazil are unbeaten in 13 matches (W9 D4 L0), conceding just three goals in that run.

Gabriel Jesus had already forced a close-range block from Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic when Marcelo limped off the field after a back spasm on 10 minutes, but the early setback did not prevent Brazil seizing control of Group E nine minutes before half-time.

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