Goals by Paulinho and Thiago Silva directed a much-enhanced Brazil to a 2-0 triumph over a doing combating in any case outflanked Serbia on Wednesday and into a World Cup second-round meeting with Mexico.
The win, joined with Switzerland’s 2-2 draw with Costa Rica, implied Brazil completed best of Group E on seven points, two in front of the Swiss, who will confront Sweden in the last 16. Serbia finished in third place on three points and are dispensed with alongside Costa Rica.
With defending champions Germany thumped out and Argentina scratching through at the passing, five-times champions Brazil were frantic to stamp their power on a competition where World Cup family has meant pretty much nothing.
Be that as it may, having required two goals in stoppage-time to beat Costa Rica in their last match having been held 1-1 by Switzerland in their opener, they set aside a long opportunity to establish any connection on a very much bored and tough Serbian defense.
After 36 minutes a heavenly hurled pass from just inside his own half by the outstanding Philippe Coutinho sent Paulinho clear and he extended high to toe the ball over goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic and facilitate the weight.
Neymar was again all around shackled and unfit to force himself, with one plunging shot over the bar and another at the legs of Stojkovic after a lightning counter-attack his only striking commitments in the main hour.
Notwithstanding, while their hotshot front men were making little progress at the opposite end, having yielded three goals in their past 12 matches, Brazil’s regularly disregarded defense again demonstrated their determination as Serbia tossed more men forward.
Thundered on by their dwarfed yet stunning fans, striker Aleksandar Mitrovic had one natural response header blocked in the line and another all around spared by Alisson as all of a sudden another surprise appeared to be conceivable.
That spell around the hour demonstrated Serbia’s high water mark, in any case, as Brazil made it 2-0 when Silva ascended high to pound home a Neymar corner following 68 minutes.
Brazil at that point thumped the ball around with all the deft ability and control that the neutrals at Spartak Stadium had come to see however and, after its all said and done Neymar couldn’t get the goal he so frantically needed, discharging a bobbing shot over the bar and having a last exertion palmed clear by Stojkovic.