Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

FIFA 2018: Brazil ease into last 16 with win over Serbia

Neymar EFE Neymar EFE
Isaac Mcdaniel | 28 June, 2018, 04:11

Serbia will clash with Brazil in Group E's final match of the 2018 World Cup.

Switzerland, 2-2 winners over Costa Rica finished second and will now face Denmark, who overhauled Mexico at the top of Group F on goal difference having crushed the North Americans 3-0.

He also toiled tirelessly in midfield as the five-time world champions produced a reassuring performance.

No one would be surprised if they beat the Balkan team and they only need to gain one point to guarantee a place in the knockout stage. Brazil started the game with a sense of urgency and looked a lot more enterprising than they did against Switzerland and Costa Rica.

Brazil had an early setback when left back Marcelo was substituted in the 10th minute, limping off the field.

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Paulinho made up for Brazil's faulty finishing in the 36th minute - the marauding midfielder latching onto a perfectly-lobbed Philippe Coutinho pass before poking past a charging Stojkovic and giving Brazil an earned advantage.

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. Serbia ended in third place on three points and are eliminated along with Costa Rica.

Serbia pushed for an equaliser but lacked the cutting edge and were caught by a classic suck-punch when Thiago Silva headed home powerfully from an outswinging Neymar corner on 68 minutes.

The crowd had to wait until the 25th minute for the first attempt at goal, as Neymar collected the ball from Gabriel Jesus inside the area on the left and tested Vladimir Stojkovic with an angled shot that the keeper palmed away.

A draw will just be enough for the Selacao to book the last round of 16 but they were not ready to take any chances.

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