FIFA World Cup 2018 Report: Serbia 0 - 2 Brazil

Thu, Jun 28 2018

Serbia topped their qualifying group ahead of Ireland, but defeats to Switzerland and Brazil saw them eliminated at the first hurdle. Credit: Eoin Smith (ETPhotos)

Brazil set up a last 16 tie with Mexico after they ran out 2-0 winners over Serbia to qualify for the knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup on top of Group E.

The Serbs needed a win on Wednesday night to keep their World Cup dreams alive but they were powerless to resist as goals from Paulinho and Thiago Silva eased them to victory.

After a cagey opening, te first chance came in the 25th minute when Neymar and Jesus linked up in the Serbian box.

Serbia had contained the Brazilian attacking threat to this point with plenty of bodies behind the ball.

It was the bodies scrambling that saw the ball break to Neymar, who slashed a ball at the goal at a tight angle and drawing a great save from Stojkovic in the process.

Neymar unlocked the defence again minutes later with a long ball towards Jesus, who burned a defender with a quick turn but he couldn’t get his shot off quickly enough and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic got back in time to make the block.

Serbia struggled to find the balance between protecting their defensive line and creating chances to win the match.

Their only chance of note came just past the half-hour when a great cross from Aleksandar Kolarov ifound Aleksandar Mitrovic, but the striker’s positioning was all wrong and, with his back to goal, he swung at the ball and sent it into orbit.

Brazil didn’t create a lot of chances in the first half facing such a staunch Serbian defence but they managed to take the lead in the 36th minute through Paulinho.

Philippe Coutinho lofted a beautiful though ball towards the midfielder, with his run splitting the defence.

Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic rushed towards the ball but Paulinho beat him to it and toe-poked the ball past the goalkeeper.

Coutinho was at it again in the second half playing dangerous balls in the Serbian half. Neymar was the recipient in the 55th minute as Coutinho played the ball across the pitch to the PSG player. Neymar timed his run perfectly to stay onside but his shot was saved by Stojkovic.

Serbia seemed to finally be kicking into action with their first clear cut chance of the evening, and they came very very close.

A dangerous cross from Antonio Rukavina was punched by Alisson into the path of Mitrovic, who dove at the ball with his head, but Thiago Silva was there to spare his keeper's blushes.

Brazil doubled their lead just as Serbia seemed to be coming into the game. Silva broke free from his marker to meet Neymar’s corner at the front post where he powered the ball home with his head.

That second goal killed Serbia’s momentum completely and it was Brazil who continued to create the chances late on in this game.

Neymar had his chance to add to his tally at this World Cup when Willian found him inside the box but his volleyed effort struck the ground and went over the Serbian crossbar.

Neymar had another chance to add to the lead when a pass from Fernandinho deflected off of Zivkovic leaving him one on one with Stojkovic.

The Serbian keeper made himself as big as possible and Neymar couldn’t take advantage with his effort being blocked down.

Serbia: Vladimir Stojkovic; Aleksandar Kolarov, Nikola Milenkovic, Anonio Rukavina, Milos Veljkovic; Filip Kostic (Nemanja Radonjic, 82), Adem Ljajic (Andrija Zivkovic, 75), Nemanja Matic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Tadic; Aleksandar Mitrovic (Luka Jovic, 89).

Subs not used: Marko Dmitrovic (gk), Predrag Rajkovic (gk), Marko Grujic, Branislav Ivanovic, , Luka Milivojevic, Aleksandar Prijovic, Milan Rodic, Uros Spajic, Dusko Tosic.

Booked: Adem Ljajic (33), Nemanja Matic (48), Aleksandar Mitrovic (70).

Brazil: Alisson Becker; Fagner Conserva Lemos, Marcelo (Filipe Luis, 10), Jaoa Miranda, Thiago Silva; Willian Borges da Silva, Casemiro, Phillippe Coutinho (Renato Augusto, 80), Paulinho (Fernandinho, 66); Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior, Gabriel Jesus.

Subs not used: Ederson Moraes (gk), Cassio Ramos (gk), Taison Barcellos Freda, Marquinhos Correa, Douglas Costa, Danilo Luis Da Silva, Roberto Firmino, Fred, Pedro Geromel.

Booked: None.

Referee: Alireza Faghani (Iran).

Attendance: 44,190 (official).

Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)