Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Brazil ease into last 16 with win over Serbia

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
| 28 June, 2018, 10:08

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

But it was Neymar who characterized the change in Brazil as they approach a round of 16 showdown with Mexico in Samara on Monday.

Midfielder Paulinho grabbed the opener for the Brazilians in the 36th minute when running onto a delightful through ball by Philippe Coutinho before poking the ball past the onrushing Stojkovic.

Joining Brazil in the last 16 from Group E are Switzerland, who made heavy weather of their match against Costa Rica, but did enough to push through.

Brazil's fans cheer before their Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group E match against Serbia at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on June 27, 2018.

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.

The Newcastle United forward endeavoured to cause issues and he passed up another standout chance when a ball in from Antonio Rukavina saw Fagner isolated at the back post, leaving Mitrovic to somehow send his header into the grateful arms of Alisson.

Serbia made a bright start to the second-half and found their first shot on target on 55 minutes when Adam Llajic's effort forced Miranda to clear over his own crossbar.


Neymar, another who wasn't on the pitch in the semifinals of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, this time through injury, was his usual theatrical self, but that was also mingled with some quality, although there were a few missed opportunities there.

The Brazilian soccer confederation later said Marcelo only had a back spasm and was fine.

It was not his greatest performance, nor Brazil's, but it was more than enough and they march on and remain the team everyone else will want to avoid.

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. The victory was good for first place.

It wasn't just the bad 2-0 defeat to South Korea; they weren't that good in their win over Sweden either, while Mexico really should have topped them by a larger margin in their World Cup opener.

Concerns were raised about his emotional state when he sank to the ground sobbing after scoring an injury time goal against Costa Rica, with pundits in Brazil fearing he could crack under pressure to deliver in Russian Federation.

Neymar wasn't far away from doubling their lead on the stroke of half-time with a curling shot from 20 yards out that dipped just over the goal, after combining with Luis on the left.

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