Neymar inspires Brazil, Dutch storm on at World Cup

Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:50pm EDT
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By Andrew Cawthorne

BELO HORIZONTE Brazil (Reuters) - Brazil's poster-boy striker Neymar fulfilled a nation's expectations to score twice in a 4-1 destruction of Cameroon on Monday while the Netherlands again showed their potential to win the World Cup with a third straight win.

The 22-year-old Neymar, his team's box-office attraction and main hope for goals, again rose to the occasion with two precise low shots in the first half either side of Cameroon's goal.

His first, fittingly, was the 100th of a high-scoring tournament in what was Brazil's 100th World Cup game. It also made Neymar top scorer with four so far.

In a game where Brazil rediscovered the swagger that won them the Confederations Cup last year, Fred added a third and Fernandinho a fourth in the second half. That gave the hosts top spot in Group A and the reward of facing Chile in Belo Horizonte on Saturday when the exciting knockout rounds start.

"The team has got back that spirit that we used to have," a delighted Fernandinho said.

The result sparked delirium in the Brasilia national stadium and around the country, where fireworks flew and parties began.

In the other Group A game, impressive Mexico beat Croatia 3-1 to win second spot and a last-16 game against the Dutch on Sunday. Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado and Javier Hernandez scored the Mexican goals in the second half.


Brazil's Neymar celebrates past Cameroon's Joel Matip after scoring a goal during their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia June 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Michael Dalder