Neymar stars as Brazil prove too much for gallant Mexico

03 July, 2018, 02:21 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
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It was the seventh World Cup running that Brazil have reached the last eight, where they will now face Belgium or Japan, while Mexico have not made it to that stage since they hosted the tournament in 1986.

But Neymar is still dreaming of leading Brazil to glory, and his side take on Mexico in the Volga river port city of Samara (1400 GMT). They join 2014 winners Germany, Argentina and European champions Portugal in being knocked out of a competition for which neither Italy nor the Netherlands - two of the great World Cup names - even qualified.

Coming into the game on the back of rave reviews for his dives and rolls in the World Cup group stage, Neymar didn't rest on his laurels and pulled off some more stunning stagecraft against Mexico. First, Jesus scuffed his close-range volley wide, and then Coutinho flashed an effort well over from 20 yards out.

Jesus went close again in the 33rd minute, finding space in a crowded area and drilling in a left-footed strike that Ochoa palmed away. If Neymar and rising hero Philippe Coutinho are to advance, they'll have to take on a tough Mexican squad with some notable names of their own.


And their positive approach was rewarded in the 51st minute as Neymar and Willian combined to devastating effect. The world's most expensive player put Brazil in the lead after his back-heel released Willian, who then sent the ball into the penalty area.

Paulinho nearly doubled the lead before the hour, but his shot inside the box was kept out by the excellent Ochoa, who then had to tip Willian's fizzing drive over the bar. The last time these two met in a match, it was Brazil who registered a 2-0 victory over Mexico.

But Osorio turned his ire on referee Gianluca Rocchi, whom he accused of leaning towards the Brazil side in his decisions.

Neymar's talent is undeniable - he tallied a goal and an assist in Brazil's 2-0 win over El Tri - but he won't win anyone over with his flopping antics.

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