BRASILIA, Brazil — Neymar lived up to the expectations of the World Cup host nation Monday, scoring two goals as Brazil routed Cameroon 4-1 to reach the knockout stage as the top team in Group A.
The 22-year-old forward scored twice in the first half, on either side of midfielder Joel Matip’s goal for Cameroon in the 26th minute.
Fred and Fernandinho added second-half goals for Brazil, which will face South American rival Chile in the second round.
Neymar opened the scoring off a low cross by midfielder Luiz Gustavo in the 17th, deftly side-footing the ball home from close range, then restored the lead with a low right-foot strike from the top of the penalty area in the 35th after a pass by left back Marcelo.
“If I’m not mistaken, this is our best game yet,” Neymar said. “Everyone deserves congratulations for their efforts until the end.”
Brazil finished Group A with seven points after two wins and a draw. It ended with the same points as Mexico but had a better goal difference.
Playing in its 100th World Cup match, Brazil needed at least a draw to advance. Elimination in the group stage would have been unthinkable for the five-time world champions playing at home. The only team to play in all 20 World Cups, Brazil has advanced to the second round in every tournament since 1970.
NETHERLANDS 2, CHILE 0: In Sao Paulo, Leroy Fer scored a minute after coming on as a substitute to give the Netherlands a victory over Chile and seal the top spot in Group B with its third consecutive win.
Fer had only just replaced Wesley Sneijder when he rose almost unmarked in the Chile penalty area to put the Dutch ahead with a 77th-minute header. Another substitute, Memphis Depay, tapped in a cross from Arjen Robben in stoppage time to double the lead.
Both teams had already advanced to the second round, but Chile’s first loss of the tournament consigned it to second place in the group.
The Dutch now travel to Fortaleza to play Mexico, which finished second in Group A behind Brazil.
Chile began with its trademark fast, attacking style while the Dutch, with a five-man defense, looked content to sit back, absorb the pressure and hope to break out with swift counterattacks.
The strategy paid off handsomely.
“We gave nothing away and fought like lions,” stand-in captain Robben said. “Orange lions.”
SPAIN 3, AUSTRALIA 0: In Curitiba, Brazil, Spain, the 2010 champion, salvaged some World Cup pride with a lopsided win over Australia in its last match.
David Villa, in his 97th and final appearance, put Spain ahead in the 36th minute with his record 59th goal, guiding Juanfran Torres’ pass into the net with the inside of his right foot. Juanfran had been found by a typically incisive pass by Andres Iniesta.
Iniesta was at the heart of the second goal, too. Fernando Torres doubled Spain’s lead in the 69th as he steered the ball past Australia keeper Maty Ryan following a pass from Andres Iniesta. Juan Mata added a third in the 82nd from close range.
Spain avoided the worst World Cup title defense in history. That label remains with the France team of 2002, which only secured one point in its goal-less campaign.