Brazil outclasses Serbia, sets up Mexico clash

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

Cape Town - Brazil secured their passage to the 2018 Soccer World Cup Round of 16 as Group E winners after defeating an outclassed Serbia side 2-0 at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow.

Aleksandar Mitrović scored his first goal of the World Cup against Switzerland, and the Fulham will be relishing the battle against Brazil.

But, having needed two goals in stoppage-time to beat Costa Rica in their last game having been held 1-1 by Switzerland in their opener, they took a long time to make any impression on a well-drilled and rugged Serbian defence.

Brazil, who finished group play with seven points, will have five days before taking on Group F runners-up Mexico, who were stunned 3-0 by Sweden in their final group game on Wednesday.

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Paulinho broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when he timed his run perfectly to reach Philippe Coutinho's lofted-through pass and flick the ball over goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.

In the end, Brazil claimed three points on the night and will now face Mexico in the round of 16. Coutinho once again came through for Brazil as he put the victor home in the 91st minute while Neymar sealed the match off with one of his own in the 97th.

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

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.

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The Brazil number 10 was booed every time he touched the ball, and demonstrated his best and worst in a first-half display in which he showed some stunning touches - including a back-heel one-two with Philippe Coutinho - but also his theatrical streak, rolling around under a challenge on the half-way line by Adem Ljajic and eliciting little sympathy from the Serbs in the crowd. He then jumped above Serbia's defense from a corner for Brazil's second goal.

And when it looked Serbia were growing into the game midway the second half, Brazil snuffed the life out of coach Mladen Krstaji?'s boys.

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.

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