Brazil comfortably reached the World Cup last 16 after Paulinho and Thiago Silva scored in each half that give them a 2-0 win over Serbia. The five times World Cup champions on a mission of “Hexa” have finished top of Group E and will face Mexico in the knockout stage. We have compiled some major aspects from the game which shaped the course of the match.
1. EARLY FORCED SUBSTITUTION FOR BRAZIL :
Brazil suffered an early blow when gaffer Tite was forced to replace Marcelo on the 10th minute of the match as the latter felt uneasy to continue due to spinal cord spasm. Felipe Luis then on played as the left back and from the first touch he gave a good lead from the back.
2. PAULINHO STRUCK WHEN IT WAS NEEDED THE MOST :
Brazil missed their first chance on the 25th min when Neymar’s shot from the left of the Serbian inner box was palmed away by goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic. But thereafter the Serbian defenders were checked continuously till the 36th minute when Paulinho sent the ball to the back of the net turning the opposition defence into mere spectators. The Barça boy gave Brazil a 1-0 halftime lead over Serbia with a superbly-taken goal. Philippe Coutinho lofted a pass forward from just inside the Serbia half and Paulinho timed his run perfectly to get between three defenders and flick the ball over goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic. The goal came at a crucial juncture for Brazil as Serbia was strengthening the grasp on the match slowly and Brazil were failing to create anything constructive. The goal gave the five times champions a breathing space.
3. SERBIA FAILED TO SCORE :
From the second quarter of second half Serbia enjoyed a stretch of dominant possession in the Brazilian half. But failed to find clear chance on goal that lead them to face Samba lash. Brazil has kept two cleansheets in a row in the group stages and their defensive pairing of Silva and Miranda have played a crucial role behind that. This duo along with the fullbacks need to be on their toes in the knockouts if Brazil have to pull out anything positive.
4. SERBIAN GOALKEEPER THE MAN WHO TURNED HARD FOR BRAZIL TO BREAK THROUGH :
In the second half Brazil missed a lot of chances as Neymar was constantly disallowed by the Serbian Goalkeper Vladimir Stojkovic to send the ball to the net. They even got back to back corners in the first quarter of the second half but failed to score.
5. THIAGO SILVA SEALED THE DEAL :
On the 68th minute Neymar turned fruitful when he curled the corner kick into the near post and Thiago Silva headed it into the net from six yards. Thus Silva doubled the lead for Brazil and sealed their way to the knockout stage.