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Brazil finish on top

Ap
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Neymar lived up to the expectations of the World Cup host nation yesterday, scoring two goals as Brazil routed Cameroon 4-1 to reach the knockout stage as the top team in Group A.

Fred and Fernandinho added second-half goals for Brazil, which will face South American rival Chile in the second round.

Neymar netted twice in the first-half, on either side of midfielder Joel Matip's goal for Cameroon in the 26th minute.

He opened the scoring off a low cross by midfielder Luiz Gustavo in the 17th, deftly side-footing the ball home from close range, then restored the lead with a low right-foot strike from the top of the penalty area in the 35th after a pass by left back Marcelo.

"If I'm not mistaken this is our best game yet," Neymar said. "Everyone deserves congratulations for their efforts until the end."

Fred found the net in the 49th and the substitute Fernandinho struck in the 84th.

Brazil finished Group A with seven points after two wins and a draw. It ended with the same points as Mexico, but had a better goal difference. The Mexicans eliminated Croatia with a 3-1 win in Recife.

Playing in its 100th World Cup match, Brazil needed at least a draw to advance. Elimination in the group stage would have been unthinkable for the five-time world champions playing at home. The only team to play in all 20 World Cups, Brazil has advanced to the second round in every tournament since 1970.

Boosted by a crowd of nearly 69,112 at the Estadio Nacional in the nation's capital, Brazil began the match pressuring Cameroon and created many scoring chances early. But the African team eventually picked up the pace and was able to keep the hosts from threatening too much.

Despite playing without Samuel Eto'o because of a lingering right knee injury, Cameroon had a few good chances, even when the match was level in the first half.

"The first-half was not so bad, but we need to focus for 90 minutes, and this is not the first time that this happened," Cameroon coach Volker Finke said.


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