Neymar, who finished Brazil’s last win, over Costa Rica, by bursting into tears of relief, left the field with a broad smile this time.
Brazil cruised into the round of 16 of the World Cup like the five-time champion it is on Wednesday, outclassing Serbia, 2-0, on goals by Paulinho and Thiago Silva.
The Brazilians toyed with a game but overmatched Serbia, their skill on display, and earned a date with Mexico on Monday in Samara
In the second half, Neymar won a corner, then dropped a perfect ball onto the head of Thiago Silva, who rammed it home for a 2-0 lead that would hold up easily.
Coutinho got things started for Brazil in the 35th minute, dropping a lovely ball to a streaking Paulinho, who toed it past Serbia’s goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.
A good sign as they enter the knockout round of a tournament that suddenly has no true favorite.