By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cameroon was thrashed by Brazil 4-1 at the Estádio Mané Garrincha this afternoon to finish top of Group A in the FIFA World Cup. The result means the Seleção Brasileira will now meet Chile, on Saturday, June 28th, at the Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte, in the second round.
Neymar was the man-of-the-match with the first two goals to send the hosts on their way. Fred and Fernandinho added to the scoreline after the interval to cap a wonderful second half display.
Luiz Gustavo also put in a fantastic performance in central midfield as Brazil overcame a nervous start to win with style. But fellow South Americans Chile will offer a far sterner test this weekend than the already eliminated Cameroon managed.
With his brace today Neymar is, for now at least, the leading scorer in the tournament with four goals. With 35 goals for Brazil he is fifth on the country’s all-time list, behind Romário, Ronaldo, Zico and Pelé.
Brazil took the lead on sixteen minutes. Luiz Gustavo’s low cross from the left found Neymar in acres of space to glance the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. Then Matip equalized for Cameroon on 25 minutes, touching home Nyom’s center. There were moments of concern in the crowd.
Eleven minutes before half-time, Neymar restored calm. Picking up the ball from Marcelo, the no. 10 beat an opponent before slotting past Itandje in the Cameroon goal. At the interval, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari brought on Fernandinho for the ineffective Paulinho. And he immediately made a difference, putting Hulk through on goal only for the forward to fluff his lines.
It made little difference. Less than five minutes after the restart, Fluminense striker Fred headed home Marcelo’s cross to make it 3-1 to Brazil. Scolari made further changes. Ramires came on for Hulk and Willian for Neymar. And on 83 minutes, neat build-up play between Oscar and Fred left Fernandinho in front of goal to net Brazil’s fourth.
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