Brazil qualified into last 16 with 2-0 win as Serbia knocked out

Brazil qualified into last 16 with 2-0 win as Serbia knocked out

Jul 03 2018

ARKNews: Brazil eased into the World Cup knockout stages thanks to a 2-0 win over Serbia in Moscow, which secured the five-time winners top spot in Group E and consigned the Serbs to an early exit from Russia.
Goals in either half from Paulinho and Thiago Silva were enough to send Brazil through, as they set up a last 16 clash against Mexico despite not being at their fluent best.
Having seen a seismic shock earlier in the day when Germany went out following a 2-0 defeat to South Korea, Brazil ensured they didn’t suffer the same fate with an ultimately comfortable win at Spartak Stadium.
The opening exchanges displayed the contrasting styles on show in Moscow: Brazil with intricate passing and flicks, Serbia with a blunt directness that aimed to utilize the power of Aleksandar Mitrovic and pace of Dusan Tadic.
Brazil initially looked as if they would flatter to deceive again, with Neymar in particular appearing easy on the eye but with a distinct lack of cutting edge.
For Serbia, Mitrovic was a direct force up front, while Tadic picked up where he left off against Switzerland, being a threat down the right.
The game was barely 10 minutes old when Brazil were forced into a switch at left back, as Marcelo was forced off with what looked like a muscle strain, to be replaced by the capable Filipe Luis.
Both teams showed early attacking intent, although Brazil settled into the game better as the half wore on, exerting more control over the ball as they started to work openings, including when Neymar saw his shot palmed away by Vladimir Stojkovic when well-placed in the box.
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.
Brazil got the breakthrough soon after on 36 minutes, when Paulinho latched onto a lovely through ball from Philippe Coutinho, dinking the ball past the onrushing Stojkovic and into the empty net.
Mitrovic then headed straight at Alisson when he found himself free in the box, as Serbia failed to land the telling blow with Brazil rocking.

Brazil secured top spot with the win, while Switzerland clinched second despite being held to a late 2-2 draw by Costa Rica. The Serbs ended third in the group on three points, a disappointing campaign for them and their fans in Moscow after a bright opening game win against Costa Rica.
The final will be played on July 15 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at 6:00 p.m. Erbil time.
So far, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Peru, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Panama, Poland, Iran, Australia, Nigeria, Iceland, South Korea, and Germany have been eliminated from the tournament.
The nations who have advanced to the Round of 16 are Russia, Uruguay, France, Croatia, Belgium, England, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Croatia, Argentina, Sweden, and Mexico.
The Round of 16 ties will be played between June 30 and July 3.

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