BRAZIL’S Neymar (left), attempts to shoot past Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic during the Group F match between Serbia and Brazil at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BRAZIL’S Neymar (left), attempts to shoot past Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic during the Group F match between Serbia and Brazil at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

YEKATERINBURG, Russia

Sweden was so dominant against Mexico at the World Cup that the best Mexican plays of the night were made 600 miles away by South Koreans.

The Swedes rolled to a 3-0 rout Wednesday, never challenged in the second half, overtaking Mexico to win Group F just four nights after a gut-wrenching last-minute loss to Germany. The result, combined with South Korea’s 2-0 upset of the Germans, meant Sweden and Mexico — the group runner-up — advanced.

The defending champions from Germany go home early.

Sweden makes its first appearance in the knockout stage since 2006. Mexico plays in the round of 16 for the seventh straight World Cup, with its fans desperate for its first quarterfinal appearance in 32 years — the elusive “quinto partido,” or fifth game.

Ludwig Augustinsson volleyed a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa from close range five minutes into the second half, and captain Andreas Granqvist converted a penalty kick to help Sweden take control.

Mexico’s Edson Alvarez had an own goal in the 74th minute to put the game out of reach at 3-0.

It capped an emotional week for the Blue-Yellow. The team made a unified statement Sunday defending teammate Jimmy Durmaz from criticism and racist attacks after his late foul led to a free kick that won the game for Germany.

As Sweden’s lead grew, Mexican fans paid more attention to the other game, rooting against Germany, which could have passed Mexico with a victory depending on tiebreakers.

El Tri’s faithful could be seen frantically checking their phones for scoring updates from Germany’s game soon after Sweden’s second goal. After South Korea’s first goal, they let up a loud cheer and tossed drinks in the air as their chances of advancing improved.

After Granqvist’s penalty kick, Sweden took total control. Alvarez’s own goal occurred when he was trying to prevent Ola Toivonen from connecting with the ball, deflecting it with his arm past Ochoa.

Alvarez’s own goal was the seventh overall of the World Cup, one more than the previous record in 1998.

Mexico’s Jesus Gallardo was called for a yellow card just 13 seconds in — believed to be the fastest in World Cup history — setting up the first of two quick set-piece opportunities Sweden could not take advantage of.

Brazil 2, Serbia 0

MOSCOW — Worried no more, Brazil is through at the World Cup.

Paulinho and Thiago Silva scored a goal each Wednesday to give the five-time champions a 2-0 victory over Serbia and first place in their group.

Brazil struggled in its opening two matches, first held to a 1-1 draw and then needing late goals to win the other. But they controlled this one, and it was a big relief to Tite.

“I’m apparently at peace,” the Brazil coach said. “I’m still going to have a drink tonight for sure, a caipirinha. I’ll allow myself.”

Paulinho gave his team the lead when he met a lofted ball from Philippe Coutinho in the 36th minute. The defensive midfielder let the ball bounce in front of him near the penalty spot and kicked his right leg in the air to tap it over the goalkeeper’s fingertips.

Silva later scored with a powerful header in the 68th from Neymar’s corner.

Brazil finished first in Group E and will next face Mexico in the round of 16 on Monday in Samara. Serbia was eliminated, finishing third in the group behind Switzerland.

Both of Brazil’s goals came when Serbia threatened to get back into the match.

The Serbs nearly scored in the 61st when Brazil goalkeeper Alisson pushed the ball into the path of forward Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose shot bounced off the keeper and was bound for goal before being cleared by Silva.

For most of the first half, Brazil couldn’t break through Serbia’s compact back line. But Paulinho, the player that Tite calls his “secret weapon,” lived up to his name by scoring the first goal at Spartak Stadium.

Brazil had an early setback when left back Marcelo was substituted in the 10th minute, limping off the field. Filipe Luis, who is playing at his first World Cup after failing to be selected in 2010 and 2014, was brought on to replace him.

The Brazilian soccer confederation later said Marcelo only had a back spasm and was fine.

This was a more assured performance from Brazil compared to its first two group matches. There was patient buildup play and the Brazilians sometimes rested in possession, exchanging short passes in their own half to slow down play.

Brazil did what it had to do to win, making sure it wasn’t the second big team to exit the tournament after 2014 champion Germany was knocked out by South Korea.

Switzerland 2, Costa Rica 2

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia — Switzerland is through to a knockout game against Sweden at the World Cup. Half of its starting defense isn’t.

Switzerland qualified second in Group E behind Brazil despite twice losing the lead in a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica on Wednesday night. The riveting game culminated with an injury-time penalty from Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz that hit the crossbar and went in off Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer’s head.

Despite the late drama, a draw was enough to send Switzerland through to the knockout stage.

But the bad news for the Swiss: Yellow cards for captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and fellow defender Fabian Schaer — their second of the tournament — meant they’ll be suspended for the Sweden match in St. Petersburg.

Their absence leaves two gaping holes to be filled at the back as Switzerland chases a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time since 1954.

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic’s gamble to play the two key defenders while they were already on yellow cards backfired in a game where the team only needed a draw to progress. As it turned out, Switzerland could have lost to already-eliminated Costa Rica and still gone through because Brazil beat Serbia 2-0.

Serbia had a chance to pass Switzerland for second place, but Brazil ended up dominating that match. Brazil will face Group F runner up Mexico Monday and Switzerland plays Sweden Tuesday.

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