The hosts clinched first place in Group A with a 4-1 win over Cameroon on Monday, thanks to the heroics Brazil’s star, Neymar.
He had two goals and created Brazil’s third, and now the No. 10 holds the scoring lead at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with four goals in three matches.
It wasn’t a clean performance by any means. Cameroon gave the Brazil defence a lot of trouble at times, and the Indomitable Lions tied the match 1-1 when Joël Matip scored in the 26th minute.
But Neymar came through again when needed most, scoring his second goal in the 34th minute which held up as the winner. Fred scored his first goal of the tournament to seal the Brazil victory, and Fernandinho sealed first place in Group A with a marker in the 84th minute.
Key play 1
An entire nation had its heart in its throat when Matip tied the match, but Neymar created some more magic. He found some room at the edge of the box, cut to the middle, and coolly fired a shot past Cameroon keeper Charles Itandje to give Brazil a lead it wouldn’t relinquish again.
Key play 2
There was still compelling drama after Brazil went up 3-1. That’s because, over in Recife, Mexico was all of a sudden up 3-0 against Croatia in the 82nd minute.
Brazil and Mexico were tied on goal difference, and another goal from the Mexicans or from Cameroon would mean Mexico was headed for top spot in the group, and the hosts were staring the Netherlands in the face in the Round of 16.
But Fernandinho put those fears to rest, scoring two minutes later, putting the Selecao up 4-1 and sealing top spot in Group A.
Man of the match
Neymar. The best match he’s played so far – creative, dangerous with every touch, and clinical finishing. If only his teammates could begin to match that effort.
Neymar's first marker was the 100th goal of the World Cup. It's the second time the Selecao have scored that marker in World Cup history. The first was in France '58, when Vava pulled off the feat.
They said it
“When you’re living a dream and achieving a goal you’ve had since you were a child, you don’t feel any pressure. I’m doing what I’ve dreamed of, so I want to help my team-mates by scoring goals, defending, challenging for the ball, whatever’s needed to get us the win.” – Neymar
“It’s hard to put your finger on everything right after a game. In the first half we did well, despite conceding two goals. You’ve got to give to credit to Brazil, as they managed to create a lot of chances thanks to the quality they have. For that reason I’d say they deserved the win.” – Cameroon manager Volker Finke
What this means
The home team faces its biggest test yet in a Chilean side that is fully on-form. Brazil’s South American rivals won’t give the side any quarter, so in order to progress, many of the starting 11 need to turn in their best performances of the tournament.
Cameroon hasn’t made it to the World Cup knockout round in 24 years, and counting.