Brazil outclass Serbia to qualify for last 16

Neymar's 95th-minute goal against Costa Rica was his first in the tournament

Neymar's 95th-minute goal against Costa Rica was his first in the tournament

Neymar's initial impact was one of colourful but unnecessary touches, although he nearly sent the Brazilian support into ecstasy prior to the interval when he shaped up on the edge of the box, only to see his speculative, curling effort whistle just over the bar.

It's always hard to play against such team as Brazil, they played well.

"We don't live off expectations, we live off reality", said the Brazil boss.

The five-times world champions finished top of Group E with seven points and will face Mexico in the second round.

The magic playmaker made an assist in Brazil's 2-0 win over Serbia on Wednesday.

"We are a team who withstand pressure, who have high-quality substitutes".

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.

The match at Moscow's Spartak Stadium began at a ferocious tempo and Brazil left-back Marcelo was an early casualty, limping off after ten minutes to be replaced by Filipe Luis.

Jesus proved lively with runs in behind the Serbia defence and his endeavour created a chance for Neymar, whose cross-goal strike was pushed away by Stojkovic.

Tempers frayed when Serbia midfielder Adem Ljajic scythed down Neymar, in full flight on the left flank, to earn a booking on 33 minutes.

Philippe Coutinho, who scored in the opening two games, again provided a dynamic presence, defending like a terrier and setting up Paulinho's opening goal in the 38th minute with a superb long-range pass.

The Serbs almost scored in the 61st when Brazil goalkeeper Alisson pushed the ball into the path of forward Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose shot bounced off the keeper and was bound for goal before being cleared by Silva.

That assist was a frustrated Neymar's major contribution as he fired one shot at Stojkovic's legs after a 70-metre counter-attack, bounced another over the bar and saw the keeper palm clear his final effort of a night where he was routinely bullied off the ball and lost possession countless times.

"We tried to win against a powerhouse in modern football, we took more risks in the second half, but didn't take our chances and were punished", admitted Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic.

Brazil took a while to find their stride against a physical Serbian side who briefly rattled their illustrious rivals, but once Paulinho put them ahead after 36 minutes they always looked comfortable and Silva's 68th-minute header settled it.

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.

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