By RYAN TOLMICH
Through the first three games of the 2014 World Cup, it’s so far, so good for the tournament’s host country.
Brazil clinched the top spot in Group A Monday by taking down Cameroon 4-1 behind a brace from Neymar, as well as finishes from Fred and Fernandinho.
Neymar opened the scoring for the hosts in the game’s 17th minute, although the finish was mostly to the credit of the passing ability of Luiz Gustavo. Gustavo intercepted a Cameroon pass in the midfield before playing a ball all the way from the sideline to the center of the goal, where an open Neymar was cutting in to finish the job.
Cameroon answered back just nine minutes later by way of forward Joel Matip. Matip’s equalizer was also a credit to the play of his teammates, as Allan Nyom’s cross from the goal’s left side slid right into the path of an open Matip, who had the entire Brazilian net to shoot at.
However, from that point on, it was all Brazil, starting with Neymar’s second strike in the 34th minute. The Barcelona star ran straight at the Cameroon defense before cutting onto his right foot and firing past a helpless Charles Itandje to give Brazil a lead that they would never relinquish.
The hosts added an insurance goal in the 49th from Fred, who headed home a David Luiz cross from close range to make it 3-1. Substitute Fernandinho added one more in the 84th in a brilliant display of one-touch passing that saw a trio of one touch passes find an incoming Fernandinho wide open in the box for the Brazil’s fourth and final goal.
With the victory, Brazil locked up the top spot in Group A and earned a matchup with Chile in the Round of 16.