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Brazil power into last 16 with Serbia win

28 June, 2018, 07:32 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Neymar gets ready for Brazil's winner takes-all-clash with Serbia

Brazil are into the last 16 as group winners, where they will meet Mexico, after beating Serbia 2-0 on Wednesday.

In the pre-match build-up Brazil coach Tite said Neymar alone cannot "shoulder the responsibility" for his team's World Cup hopes.

"I'm apparently at peace", the Brazil coach said.

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Needing to avoid a loss to be sure of advancing, Brazil fielded the same XI as their 2-0 win against Costa Rica as Tite looked for improved understanding among his starters. A Seleção dictated the pace of this game for large parts, although it should also be acknowledged that they were under major pressure when Thiago Silva popped up to head home that decisive second goal. The Serbs ended third in the group on three points, a disappointing campaign for them and their fans in Moscow after a bright opening game win against Costa Rica.

Against Serbia he was Brazil's creative fulcrum, setting up the first goal with a sublime long ball for Paulinho to touch over the onrushing Serbian goalkeeper.

Silva popped up just at the right time for Brazil, and not only in defense.

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But the Brazilians broke the deadlock moments later and Philippe Coutinho was at the heart of the move as he picked out the run of Paulinho with a delightful pass over the top, and the midfielder lifted the ball over Stojkovic from 16 yards out to score.

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

They had yet to click in their earlier games, where they limply drew 1-1 with Switzerland and needed two stoppage-time goals to beat Costa Rica, and they didn't exactly sparkle in the first half-hour today.

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Serbia enjoyed their best chance of the match four minutes later - Alisson touching a risky cross from the right straight toward Aleksandar Mitrovic whose diving header was saved off the line by a defender before deflecting back into the goalkeeper's hands. Despite losing 2-1 to Switzerland in the second group game, confidence will be high in Mladen Krstajić's squad that they can get the job done against the Selecao.

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