Wednesday 27 June 2018, 15:17

Brazil see off Serbia to top group

  • Samba Stars set up last-16 clash against Mexico

  • Serbia impress but make another early exit

  • RELIVE: As it Happened, stats, and more

Brazil will face Mexico in a FIFA World Cup Round of 16 clash in Samara after they won Group E by beating Serbia 2-0 at the Spartak Moscow Stadium.

The South Americans thus finished on seven points from three matches, while Serbia were left facing an early flight home after failing to get the win they so desperately needed.

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.

Serbia pushed for an equaliser but lacked the cutting edge and were caught by a classic suck-punch when Thiago Silva headed home powerfully from an outswinging Neymar corner on 68 minutes.

Team reporter analysis Sonja Nikcevic with Serbia [Follow: Twitter] Serbia went into this match hoping for a miracle, demanding maximum effort from their players. And while the miracle never came as Brazil put in their strongest performance of the tournament, the Orlovi (Eagles) have done their fans proud. The effort was there, and the potential in this largely young team, who played for each other, was there to see - particularly early in the second half. Serbia are out of the tournament but there is much to build on.

Giancarlo Giampietro with Brazil [Follow: Twitter] In a week in which many of the pre-tournament favourites have struggled, Brazil gave a very assured performance, particularly in the first half. A Seleção dictated the pace of this game for large parts, although it should also be acknowledged that they were under major pressure when Thiago Silva popped up to head home that decisive second goal.

Budweiser Man of the Match Paulinho scored the always-vital opening goal to set Brazil on the road to victory. He also toiled tirelessly in midfield as the five-time world champions produced a reassuring performance.

The stat 3 The number of points that Serbia, as an independent nation, have recorded at their two World Cup appearances in 2010 and 2018.

What’s next Brazil-Mexico – Round of 16, 2 July, Samara

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