Dhaka, 28 June, Abnews: Brazil avoided a shock result that had earlier seen Germany knocked out of the World Cup by defeating Serbia to finish top of Group E and book a last-16 tie against Mexico.
They did so with the sort of occasionally dazzling performance that suggests they are growing into a tournament that they are one of the favourites to win, as they put behind them their slow start in Russia.
Paulinho had deservedly put Brazil in front with a deft finish after a brilliant run from deep saw him convert Philippe Coutinho’s through ball in the first half.
Tite’s team had to protect a slender lead for a shaky 15-minute period at the start of the second half as Serbia went all out for the win they then needed.
But Aleksandar Mitrovic found an opposition defender when he should have scored and saw another header saved by the unconvincing Alisson.
And once Thiago Silva extended Brazil’s advantage with an unmarked header from a corner, Tite’s side regained a measure of composure and went close to a third on numerous occasions.
Serbia may feel aggrieved the second was not ruled out by VAR for a push on Mitrovic by Miranda as the corner came in but they were outplayed overall.
The result ended their hopes of qualifying from the group stage for the first time, while Brazil now head to Samara, where their last-16 tie will take place on Monday, as group winners having topped Group E over Switzerland on goal difference. – BBC