Hosts Brazil produced a superb display to claim a thrilling 4-1 win over Cameroon in Brasilia. Barcelona forward Neymar looked in great shape and scored a brace of goals in the first half before Fred and Fernandinho both struck from close range to take all three points.
In group A’s other game, Mexico outclassed Croatia 3-1 in Recife thanks to goals from Andrés Guardado, Rafael Márquez and Javier Hernández.
After a relatively slow start to the game, Miguel Herrera’s men stepped it up a gear in the second half, scoring 3 goals in less than ten minutes to seal the win.
The Netherlands secure top spot
Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay both netted in the second half as The Netherlands outclassed Chile 2-0 to finish top of Group B, maintaining their perfect record in this year’s main event.
Substitute Fer rose almost unmarked in the Chile penalty area to open the scoring in the 77th minute before Depay made sure of the win with an easy tap-in in injury time.
Elsewhere, defending champions Spain salvaged some World Cup pride with an emphatic 3-0 win over Australia.
Former Barcelona striker David Villa drew first blood with a superb backheel, before Fernando Torres and Juan Mata sealed the win, sparing their fans the embarrassment of losing all three group games.
Brazil’s convincing display against Cameroon sees them top group A, meaning they will next lock horns with Chile on Saturday while Mexico will take on the Netherlands on Sunday.
Winner takes all
Having both fallen victim to surprise package Costa Rica, Italy and Uruguay will battle it out in Natal for the right to join Jorge Luis Pinto’s men in the last 16.
Italy, who could well be without the injured Daniele De Rossi, find themselves needing a result in the final match after a disappointing performance against Costa Rica, where they offered their opponents too many attacking opportunities and created too few of their own.
Uruguay were also less than impressive in going down 3-1 to Costa Rica in their opening game, before the return of Luis Suarez inspired them to a hard-fought 2-1 win over England.
Uruguay’s Maxi Pereira could return to the team after serving a one match ban while captain Diego Lugano is unlikely to feature because of a knee complaint.
In group D’s other game, England face Costa Rica with national team coach Roy Hodgson set to make nine changes to the team which lost to Italy and Uruguay.
No room for error
Greece know they have no room for error and must beat the Ivory Coast at the Estadio Castelao to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.
Team captain Kostas Katsouranis was sent off in their previous match and will miss out with 37-year-old Giorgos Karagounis set to replace him.
As for Sabri Lamouchi’s men, a win would guarantee them a place in the last 16 but anything less could see Greece or Japan go through.
Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is hoping to start, while Didier Ya Konan is expected to shake off a knee injury in time to play.
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