Neymar scored twice in a 4-1 win over Cameroon, with Fred and Fernandinho getting the others for Brazil as they set up a last-16 meeting with fellow South Americans Chile, who finished second in Group B.
But quite apart from his two goals, Neymar bewitched fans in Brasilia with a magical performance, pulling off tricks at will and generally lifting Brazil to previously unmatched heights in this World Cup.
The 22-year-old, who now has 35 international goals in 52 appearances, said: "There is no pressure. I've always said there is no pressure when you are making a dream come true and doing something you have sought after since you were a kid. I'm now playing in matches that I always dreamed about.
"I just want to help my fellow players not only by scoring goals but doing whatever it takes on the pitch to help us win. We are on the right track and the whole team is getting better and getting close to our target."
When Neymar first emerged from the Santos youth ranks, football fans in Europe became accustomed to weekly YouTube updates of his outrageous exploits with a football; there he was dribbling around five players for fun, there he was scoring a golazo, or pulling off a never-before-seen trick. Such moments were few and far between in a more functional first season in Barcelona, so it was a genuine thrill to see the Brazil star rediscover his inner showboat with a performance of breathtaking audacity. This was Neymar as Brazil knows and loves him - the darling of a nation. He seems to cope easily with the enormous expectation on his shoulders and this could be his tournament.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Neymar and Brazil take on Chile in the last 16 on June 28 at 5pm which represents a stern challenge for the Selecao. In the other side of the draw, Netherlands are playing Mexico, who stormed into the last 16 courtesy of a 3-1 win over Mexico in Recife.
JACK LANG IN BRAZIL
"Neymar is quite a player. He is, in many ways, the closest Brazil are likely to get to a true heir to Garrincha, full of intuition and cunning and street smarts. There is something fitting that he is bringing joy to the people in 2014."
Rio Ferdinand: Neymar: 22yrs old, 53 games, 35 goals, 20 assists....that's illegal!! Dealing with pressure like a boss.
WHAT SCOLARI SAID
"If I could choose I would have picked someone else [to face] as Chile are a good South American team, they have quality, they are organised, they have the will to succeed. I will look at things when all the adrenaline has left our bodies, sometimes when we look at the match again in the cold light of day we see it in a different way. I think Fernandinho coming in was critical and we created a number of good chances in attack. Nature doesn't make leaps, things evolve step by step and this is what we are doing."
WHAT THE CAMEROON COACH SAID
Volker Finke: "Over the last two or three years we have not been that good but we managed to qualify for the World Cup and now we are disappointed we have not won a match. It's terrible and we suffer this but we have gained experience and what we need to do is focus and concentrate for the next challenge. The first half wasn't so bad but it's true we need to focus for the whole 90 minutes. We need to find the reasons for this - three times we had control of the ball and then lost possession which led to goals. But Brazil deserved this victory, they created more chances."
- Sports & Recreation