Neymar was at his ruthless best again as Brazil eased into the last 16 as group winners with an emphatic, if not always convincing, 4-1 win over Cameroon at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.
Needing just a draw to ensure qualification into the next round, Brazil and Neymar turned on the goalscoring style to ensure top spot in Group A via goal difference after finishing level on points with Mexico, and with it avoid a pre-quarterfinal clash with 2010 World Cup runners-up and scoring-goals-for-fun Netherlands.
Mexico will join Brazil, who will play Chile next, in the last 16 from Group B after their own impressive 3-1 win over Croatia, with the Latin Americans setting up an interesting clash with Holland.
Brazil were relentless going forward against Cameroon, even if they did show plenty of weaknesses in defence, with Neymar grabbing a wonderful brace to send the hosts on their way to a big win. Fred, as desperate as they come for a goal, would also find the back of the net, with Fernandinho adding the gloss to the scoreline with a late strike. Cameroon got their consolation goal via Joel Matip.
The match started at an incredible pace, with Brazil putting intense pressure on Cameroon from the kickoff with the intensity not relenting for the 90 minutes, as wave after wave of attacks from both sides kept everyone at the Estadio Nacional riveted. Brazil got off the blocks quickly with Hulk, back in the starting lineup after recovering from injury, and Neymar creating a couple of chances.
Cameroon looked like they might break under the early onslaught from Brazil, if not from the quality on the pitch, but by the sheer noise in the stadium, which was deafening every time Brazil even remotely looked like going forward, however, the African side clearly had more ideas than to just survive in this game, taking the game to Brail every time they had possession, and always looking capable of breaking down the far from convincing home side's defence.
Neymar, though, after a frustrating outing against Mexico, was in the mood, and the Brazil superstar, with his blood boiling after an altercation with Allan Nyom, opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Luiz Gustavo stole the ball from Cameroon inside their own half, before picking put a nice cross from the right for Neymar to open his boot up and guide the ball into the bottom corner.
Delirium in the stands ensued after that goal, but it was toned down nine minutes later as Cameroon, refusing to lie down and play dead, hit back in some style.
The African side first hit the woodwork off a corner with Matip making a nuisance of himself inside the box and forcing Thiago Silva to guide his defensive header onto the crossbar. Cameroon, knowing full well that three of Brazil's back four are not exactly the greatest of defenders, kept the attack going, and duly got their reward, with Nyom dribbling his way past Dani Alves, before picking out a low cross for Matip for a tap-in from three yards.
The goals in the first half were not quite done, as Neymar, nine minutes after the equaliser and ten minutes before halftime, completed his brace. Neymar, off a pass from Marcelo, found himself in space just outside the Cameroon box, and the 22-year-old calmly stroked the ball past Itandje.
Brazil started the second half like they did the first, with Hulk denied a shot on goal by a brilliant last-ditch tackle, while Fred forced a wonderful save from Charles Itandje with a 20-yard effort. The chances just kept coming as Neymar, looking for his hat-trick, swung in a freekick from the left, which Itandje had to tip over.
The man most desperate to score for Brazil would get the third goal soon after, though, with Fred stooping to head in a cross from David Luiz in the 50th minute to end his goal drought -- there was suspicion of offside for the goal, but Brazil, and Fred, in particular, will not care one bit as the feeling of relief emanating from the striker was plain for everyone to see.
With Mexico smashing Croatia to bits in the other game, the tension, which had considerably eased following Fred's goal, increased a little bit as top spot suddenly looked like slipping away.
However, in stepped Fernandinho, a halftime substitute, to toe-poke home from 15 yards to ensure a convincing victory and a pre-quarterfinal clash with fellow South Americans Chile.
In the other Group A game, Mexico turned on the style in the second half, scoring three unanswered goals in ten second half minutes to thump Croatia 3-1.
Rafael Marquez opened the scoring for the Mexicans in the 72nd minute, towering high to head home a corner, before Andres Guardado finished Croatia, who needed a win to qualify for the last 16, off from a quickfire counter-attack.
Javier Hernandez would add the icing on the cake for Mexico, heading in from two yards at the back post off a knock-on from a corner.
Ivan Perisic grabbed a consolation goal for Croatia late on, but the European side were left shell-shocked by Mexico's ten-minute blitz.