Brazil coasts by Serbia 2-0, advances to knockout round

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

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

Serbia is in second place with three points and could still top the group with a win over Brazil and a Switzerland draw or loss to last-place Costa Rica.

World Cup - Follow the Football match between Serbia and Brazil live with Eurosport.

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

Brazil struggled in their opening two matches, first held to a 1-1 draw and then needing late goals to win the other.

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And yet it was not the optimum performance of a Brazilian side tipped to win the tournament but it was a side that looked promising, exciting and entertaining, completely different from the side that labored against Switzerland and Costa Rica in the opening two games.

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.

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.

Neymar was desperate to get on the scoresheet in the closing stages, hitting the ball into the ground and over the bar from Willian's 83rd-minute cross on the right, before latching onto a deflected pass on the right and seeing Stojkovic get a glove onto his lifted effort three minutes later.

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At the back, Brazil have one of Europe's most sought after goalkeepers in Alisson but he wasn't altogether convincing.

Serbia needed to win to qualify and rocked their opponents with a flurry of second-half chances.

Paulinho had deservedly put Brazil in front with a deft finish after a brilliant run from deep saw him convert Philippe Coutinho's throughball in the first half. He then jumped above Serbia's defense from a corner for Brazil's second goal.

Four years ago, Paulinho was part of the Brazil team that was humiliated at home in a 7-1 drubbing by Germany in the semifinals. Brazil started the game with a sense of urgency and looked a lot more enterprising than they did against Switzerland and Costa Rica.

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