Brazil secured top spot in Group E and set up an all-South American last 16 clash with Uruguay by coming from behind to seal a 3-1 win over Australia. Rogerio Lourenco's much-altered side didn't always sparkle against a considerably improved Young Socceroos, but they deservedly prevailed thanks to three goals of the highest quality from Ciro, Douglas Costa and Paulo Henrique.
After drawing with Czech Republic, A Seleção needed a win to be guaranteed top spot, so it was something of a surprise to see Rogerio make no fewer than eight changes to his starting XI. Yet the Brazilians have plenty of talent in reserve, and could have taken the lead as early as the ninth minute.
Andrew Redmayne, who had replaced Dean Bouzanis in goal for the Aussies, flapped at a corner, and Wellington Junior smashed the ball goalwards only to be thwarted by a wall of green and gold. Generally, however, Brazil looked lackadaisical and off the pace at this stage, and it was no great surprise when they fell behind five minutes later.
The manner of the goal was a shock though, and Rafael will still be wondering how he contrived to allow Aaron Mooy's speculative 35-yard free-kick to squirm through his grasp and into the net. However fortuitous it was, breaking the deadlock provided a massive boost to the Young Socceroos' confidence and they came agonisingly close to doubling their lead two minutes later when Kofi Danning struck the face of the post after another Mooy free-kick had again caused havoc.
Brazil were struggling to rise to the occasion, but they came to life on 21 minutes with an outrageous effort from Douglas Costa, who skipped round the keeper and whipped his left foot behind his right leg only to nudge the ball past the far post. It proved to be the spark that A Seleção needed to up the tempo and, 11 minutes before the break, they scored a terrific equaliser.
Ciro, one of the players introduced to the starting line-up, teased Rhyan Grant on the left-hand edge of the box before jinking past the Aussie right back and crashing in a left-foot a shot that clipped the near post on its way into the net. Brazil never looked back from that moment onwards and saw Paulo Henrique go close to doubling their lead with a superb 25-yard free-kick that shaved a layer of paint off the crossbar.
For Australia, this near miss merely delayed the inevitable. Ciro should have added a second nine minutes after the restart after being set up by Douglas Costa, but fired over when it appeared easier to score. Douglas Costa therefore took it upon himself to switch from creator to finisher, taking a cross from Maicon in his stride, controlling instantly and stabbing the ball past Redmayne with the outside of his left boot.
Brazil were cruising now, and they added a superb third with nine minutes remaining when the impressive Paulo Henrique shuffled past Sam Gallagher on the right flank and curled a quite magnificent 20-yard shot into the top left-hand corner via a slight touch off the underside of the bar. That put the seal on a win that leaves Rogerio's side to look forward to a meeting with their regional rivals, and Australia to head for home without a point to their name.