KEIR RADNEDGE in MOSCOW SPARTAK: Brazil, appearing the most complete remaining in the 2018 World Cup finals, stepped confidently into the second round with a 2-0 win over Serbia in a Group E decider.

Victory, in the end, was more decisive than the scoreline suggested with goals in each half from midfielder Paulinho and centre back Thiago Silva keeping the torcida happy.

Brazil coach Tite had an early setback when leftback Marcelo was forced off after injuring himself in a challenge on Dusan Tadic and had to be substituted by Felipe Luis.

Paulinho then put Brazil in front with a tidy finish after a superbly judged run from deep saw him control and convert an ideal through pass from Philippe Coutinho.

Brazil defended solidly at the start of the second half as Serbia raised their game but Aleksandar Mitrovic mis-hit a close-range shot against a covering defender from close range and than had a header saved by goalkeeper Alisson.

Thiago Silva then extended Brazil’s advantage with an unmarked header from a left-wing corner by Neymar and Brazil were content to run down the game.

Neymar was as influential as ever; taking 119 touches against Serbia – 21 more than any other player

Brazil have now qualified from the group stage of the World Cup for the 13th consecutive tournament, a run stretching back to 1970 and won back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time since 2010, when they won their opening two group matches.