Brazil avoided the sort of shock result that had earlier seen Germany knocked out of the World Cup by defeating Serbia to finish top of Group E and book a last-16 tie against Mexico.
Paulinho had deservedly put Brazil in front with a deft finish after a brilliant run from deep saw him convert Philippe Coutinho’s throughball in the first half.
Tite’s team had to protect a slender lead for a shaky 15-minute period at the start of the second half as Serbia went all out for the win they then needed.
But Aleksandar Mitrovic found an opposition defender when he should have scored and saw another header saved by the unconvincing Alisson.
And once Thiago Silva extended Brazil’s advantage with an unmarked header from a corner, Tite’s side regained a measure of composure and went close to a third on numerous occasions.
Serbia may feel aggrieved the second was not ruled out by VAR for a push on Mitrovic by Miranda as the corner came in but they were outplayed overall.
The result ended their hopes of qualifying from the group stage for the first time, while Brazil now head to Samara, where their last-16 tie will take place on Monday.
Brazil moving through the gears
Tite’s side were heavily criticised after their laboured display against Switzerland and their unconvincing performance against Costa Rica, which required two injury-time goals to claim a much-needed win for the five-times champions.
In Moscow on Wednesday they were sluggish in parts and had lost control of midfield after the restart to such an extent that Tite brought on Manchester City’s Fernandinho for goalscorer Paulinho.
But Brazil have been solid defensively under Tite, conceding just five goals in 21 games going into the tournament, and despite riding their luck a little at 1-0 they undoubtedly deserved their three points.
Neymar and Coutinho both sent team-mates clean through with sumptuous throughballs and the Brazilians created numerous good chances.
Gabriel Jesus and Neymar were both denied by Stojkovic after being played clean through – the Serb keeper making a series of fine saves against the Paris St-Germain forward, with a one-handed stop late on the pick of the bunch.
Jesus, Neymar and Coutinho were a constant menace as Brazil broke with dizzying speed and there were undoubted signs Brazil are starting to move through the gears as the tournament now moves into the knockout phase.
It was a far from a perfect evening for one of the pre-tournament favourites as influential left-back Marcelo limped off early in the opening half.
But Neymar’s demeanour after the final whistle – smiling happily and waving to all sections of the crowd – reflected the change of mood within the Brazil camp.
More to follow.