Brazil top Group E with win vs. Serbia, will face Mexico in round of 16
Serbia 0 - 2 Brazil

Brazil top Group E with win vs. Serbia, will face Mexico in round of 16

27/06/2018

Brazil finished Group E winners with a 2-0 victory over Serbia in Moscow on Wednesday night.

The victory, which eliminated Serbia, set up a clash with Mexico in the round of 16 on Monday in Samara.

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 normal starters.

And his patience with the unit nearly paid off immediately when Gabriel Jesus, who broke in behind the Serbia back line, saw his one-on-one with Vladimir Stojkovic well-saved before being whistled for offsides in the build-up.

Tite was forced to alter his lineup10 minutes in when left-back Marcelo exited with back spasms and was replaced by Atletico Madrid's Felipe Luis.

Neymar forced a first save from Stojkovic in the 25th minute as the Serb keeper did well to palm the winger's hopeful effort wide of the goal.

Jesus' extra touch robbed the Manchester City striker of a clear chance near the half-hour mark -- his delayed right-footed shot from just outside the six-yard box hitting a recovering defender after running in behind the back line.

But Paulinho made up for Brazil's faulty finishing in the 36th minute -- the marauding midfielder latching onto a perfectly-lobbed Philippe Coutinho pass before poking past a charging Stojkovic and giving Brazil an earned advantage.

Neymar was unlucky not to score 12 minutes after the restart -- the excellent Coutinho finding the Paris Saint-Germain man racing behind the Serbia defence only to see his left-footed shot blocked by a quick-reacting Stojkovic.

Serbia enjoyed their best chance of the match four minutes later -- Alisson touching a dangerous cross from the right straight at Aleksandar Mitrovic whose diving header was saved off the line by a defender before deflecting back into the goalkeeper's hands.

Mitrovic towered over right-back Fagner near the 65th minute but only to fire his header straight at Alisson with the entire goal to shoot at.

And Thiago Silva made those missed chances pay just three minutes later. From a corner, the PSG defender guided his uncontested header past the keeper at the near post to put Brazil well in front on the night.

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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