Serbia must beat Brazil to qualify for the last 16; if they draw it would leave them relying on Costa Rica to comfortably beat Switzerland.

The South American giants suffered a setback in the 10th minute, however, when Marcelo was forced off with what appeared to be a foot injury, with Filipe Luis replacing him at left-back.

Jesus proved lively with runs in behind the Serbia defence and his endeavour created a chance for Neymar, whose cross-goal strike was pushed away by Stojkovic.

Brazil then knocked the ball around with all the deft skill and control that the neutrals at Spartak Stadium had come to see but even then Neymar couldn't get the goal he so desperately wanted, firing a bouncing shot over the bar and having a final effort palmed clear by Stojkovic.


Philippe Coutinho, who scored in each of Brazil's first two games, played one of the passes of the tournament to pick out Paulinho, who lifted the ball over 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.

Paulinho opened the scoring with a little loop over the head of Serbian goalkeeper in the first half before Thiago put the game beyond the reach of the Serbians in the second with a powerful header.

Serbia repeatedly struggled to contain Brazil's fleet-footed attack.


Mitrovic towered over right-back Fagner near the 65th minute but only to fire his header straight at Alisson with the entire goal to shoot at. It's always hard to play against such team as Brazil, they played well.

Switzerland also advanced after a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica and will next face Sweden on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

Serbia can still attempt to soak up the inevitable pressure from Brazil and hit them on the counter, or try and take advantage of set pieces with Aleksandar Mitrovic leading the way.


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