MOSCOW (Reuters) - Brazil coach Tite said he was off to celebrate with a caipirinha after his side beat Serbia 2-0 on Wednesday and avoided a similar fate to world champions Germany, who were knocked out of the competition four hours earlier.
Brazil could also have suffered a shock first-round exit if they had lost to Serbia but instead maintained their record of having finished top of their group at every World Cup since 1982.
The Brazilians, however, suffered some tense moments during their Group E campaign as they were held 1-1 by Switzerland in their opening game and took 90 minutes to break down a stubborn Costa Rica before winning 2-0.
“I’m going to allow myself a caipirinha tonight, just one,” said Tite, whose side will face Mexico in the last 16.
“This team created high expectations because we thumped the opposition during the World Cup qualifiers and during the friendlies, but the World Cup is a new start, it’s a fresh cycle.”
Tite praised the team for the way they had coped with the huge pressure of representing Brazil in the World Cup.
“You need a team that mentally can withstand the pressure, which is balanced and which has spare parts (substitutes) for important moments. If our players were not properly prepared, the we wouldn’t be performing like this,” he said.
Tite said he did not have any information about the fitness of left back Marcelo who had to go off early in the game and replaced by Filipe Luis.
“I can only say that Marcelo had a problem with his back, that it seized up,” he said. “I can’t tell you any more than that.”
Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar