Tite 'at peace' and in the mood to celebrate after Brazil advance

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PATRIK STOLLARZ
The Selecao secured top spot in Group E with a 2-0 defeat of Serbia on Wednesday and their manager was in the mood to celebrate afterwards

Brazil coach Tite intended to celebrate his side's qualification for the last 16 of the World Cup with a caipirinha on Wednesday.

A first-half goal from Paulinho and a second-half header from Thiago Silva enabled the Selecao to see off Serbia 2-0 in Moscow and secure top spot in Group E.

Mexico await in Samara on Monday but Tite, wearing a broad grin in the aftermath of the clash at Spartak Stadium, said he would first allow himself to enjoy Brazil's progression.

He said: "I am apparently at peace. I'm going to have a caipirinha tonight, I'll allow myself!"

The former Corinthians boss is happy with how his squad are seemingly growing into the tournament after an opening draw with Switzerland and a last-gasp defeat of Costa Rica.

He added: "The World Cup is made up of human relationships, you have to feel how the dressing room is established, how the players interact, the responsibility, the joy, the pride, you try to balance things out.

"If you're hyper you try to slow it down, if you're a bit low you try to hype it up. In terms of the emotion of the team, there is still more to grow. Comparatively speaking, they have grown in those three matches. From here, it is only up.

"I try to challenge the players. If they have reached a standard I challenge them to grow even more because you never know. You never know where the team can go. It's a short tournament and mentally it's really draining."

It was not all plain sailing for the five-time winners with Serbia missing three excellent chances shortly before Silva put the result beyond doubt and just after Tite had moved to shore up his midfield by introducing Fernandinho for Paulinho.

In explaining the switch, he said: "A team is strong because they have players who have different characteristics, but they are all important so sometimes the needs of the game impose themselves.

"At that time the game was calling for Fernandinho. That was the time when Serbia were growing, especially in central midfield.

"In terms of our performance, it was good, consistent throughout the game and that gives you confidence."

Neymar Paulinho Brazil World Cup

Given Germany's early exit and the lack of fluency shown by the likes of Spain, France and Argentina, Brazil are now the bookmakers' favourites to win the tournament.

Tite, however, was not concerned by the growing expectations.

"We don't live off expectations, we live off reality," he said.

"We have expectations because we did so well in the qualifiers and the friendlies but then when you come to the World Cup it's a new cycle and a new format. We have embraced those expectations."

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The only negative for Brazil was an early injury suffered by left-back Marcelo.

Tite said: "He has a problem with his back. He said his back locked, it was a spasm and he couldn't play with that."

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