Neymar powers Brazil into Cup second round

Jun 23, 2014 - 11:49 PM Neymar has demonstrated his importance to Brazil with two goals as the World Cup hosts beat Cameroon 4-1 at the National Stadium on Monday to secure top spot in Group A and a last-16 tie against Chile.

The Barcelona forward scored the tournament's 100th goal to put the hosts ahead and restored their lead before the interval after Joel Matip had equalised for already-eliminated Cameroon.

Fred got Brazil's third early in the second half with substitute Fernandinho adding a late fourth.

Brazil's win, combined with Mexico's 3-1 victory against Croatia in the other Group A game in Recife, ensured that they progress as group winners, ahead of Mexico on goal difference.

Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said Brazil must improve for Saturday's game against Chile.

"We are progressing on an everyday basis," insisted Scolari. "We scored four goals, and could have had seven or eight, but for the next match against a great Chile team I think we still need to get better."

Man of the match Neymar added: "Everyone deserves credit because of the result and because of the way we played. We are on the right track.

"The most important thing was the team and I think this was our best performance."

Cameroon were already out of the tournament after losing their opening two matches, but the Indomitable Lions had the advantage of playing without pressure.

"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.

"Some goals were not needed, three times we had the control of the ball and we lost it."

Cameroon passed the ball confidently early on, but it was Brazil who took the lead.

The opening goal came as a huge release for Brazil and their fans in the crowd of over 69,000. Neymar coolly sidefooted a low Luiz Gustavo cross first time into the net.

It was the first time in the tournament that Scolari's side had scored the first goal of a game, and both Neymar and Fred came close to increasing their advantage, the latter lunging desperately to connect with a Paulinho cross but unable to scramble the ball home.

Cameroon silenced the home fans when they drew level in the 26th minute.

Allan Nyom got away from Dani Alves on the left and delivered a low ball that evaded Thiago Silva and David Luiz to give Matip the easiest of finishes.

Brazil did not panic, and Neymar again intervened to restore their lead in the 34th minute.

When Nyom's headed clearance was returned by Marcelo, the Barcelona player collected the ball, cut inside before sending in a low shot from the edge of the area that passed underneath Nicolas Nkoulou and went right through Charles Itandje in goal.

Scolari replaced Paulinho at the interval, sending on Fernandinho. The Manchester City midfielder had an immediate impact, helping Brazil open up a two-goal cushion four minutes into the second period.

His pass released David Luiz on the left-hand edge of the area and the latter's centre was headed into a gaping goal from four yards by the grateful Fred, who scored his first goal of the finals.

Neymar was withdrawn for the closing stages and watched as Fernandinho poked home the fourth goal in the 84th minute, having combined superbly with Fred and Oscar after Cameroon lost possession in their own half.

Source: AAP

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