Brazil’s Thiago Silva celebrates as Brazil won the group E match between Serbia and Brazil, at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Brazil secured their place in the knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup as they eliminated Serbia with a 2-0 win at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow. 

Goals from Paulinho in the first-half and Thiago Silva in the second-half were enough to see the South Americans top Group E ahead of Switzerland, who finished second.

The result means Brazil will play Mexico in the round of 16 in Samara on Monday afternoon.

Serbia’s hopes of reaching the second round of a World Cup for the first time as an independent nation are over as they finished third in Group E on three points.

Brazil replaced Marcelo with Filipe Luis after 10 minutes as the Real Madrid left-back was suffering from back spasms.

Neymar forced the first significant save of the game after 25 minutes when his left-footed shot from a tight angle was pushed away by Vladimir Stojkovic.

Gabriel Jesus then came close four minutes later when he beat a Serbian defender with a cut-back before his close-range effort was blocked.

Brazil didn’t have to wait much longer for the goal as Paulinho lobbed Stojkovic on 36 minutes after his Barcelona teammate Philippe Coutinho provided the assist.

Coutinho lofted a perfectly weighted through ball in behind the Serbian defence to pick out Paulinho’s bursting run from midfield.

Serbia looked dangerous early in the second-half and came close to equalising after 56 minutes when Miranda nearly turned the ball into his own net after Adem Ljajic’s cross.

Brazil then nearly scored at the other end on the break as Neymar was again denied by Stojkovic.

Serbia continued to press and saw another great chance go begging when Aleksander Mitrovic could only send his close-range header into Thiago Silva, with goalkeeper Alisson stranded.

Two more opportunities followed in quick succession as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fired over and Mitrovic headed straight at Alisson from the edge of the six-yard box.

Brazil punished Serbia three minutes later when Neymar’s corner was met by the head of an unmarked Thiago Silva, who powered home at the near post.

The second goal took the wind out of Serbia’s sails and Brazil controlled the closing stages, with Neymar twice coming close to adding a third.

Serbia XI: Stojkovic, Rukavina, Milenkovic, Veljkovic, Kolarov (C), Matic, Milinkovic-Savic, Tadic, Ljajic, Kostic, Mitrovic.

Subs: Zivkovic, Radonjic, Jovic.

Brazil XI: Alisson, Fagner, Thiago Silva, Miranda (C), Marcelo, Paulinho, Casemiro, Willian, Coutinho, Neymar, Gabriel Jesus.

Subs: Filipe Luis, Fernandinho, Renato Augusto.