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Brazil vs Mexico: Neymar steers Selecaoto last eight

04 July 2018

Belgium and Japan face off later in the day, with the victor facing Brazil on Friday.

The PSG forward slid home in the second half and then teed up Roberto Firmino late on as the five-times champions beat an otherwise stubborn Mexico, whose World Cup began with such promise with a victory over champions Germany, but ended in familiar fashion in the first knockout round.

A Mexico fan blows a kiss before the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Mexico at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 2, 2018.

Willian also won the praises of Brazil assistant coach Sylvinho, who pointed out his sterling work at covering right-back Fagner on a flank that was targeted early on by Mexico on the break.

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'We lost our style due to the referee giving too much stoppage time.

With Brazil looking to hold on to a 1-0 lead through the final whistle, Neymar would instead help his team to an insurance goal in the final minutes of the match. The team could've had more than one goal in the period but Ochoa pulled off a string of good saves.

That "honour" goes to Lionel Messi, whose exit from the World Cup and subsequent retirement rumours had social media ablaze. But not before trying a stamp on Layun himself.

"In Neymar's defence he has been fouled more than any other player at this World Cup and he is regularly the target of rough treatment".

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He also said that "for a generation of Mexican players, this was the last opportunity to reach a World Cup quarter-final in their prime".

"I'm embarrassed for Neymar", said former England striker Dion Dublin on BBC Radio 5 live.

"Anyone who has seen the game knows exactly what I'm referring to". In a delayed reaction, Neymar made the most of Layun stepping on his ankle, rolling around with his hand covering his eyes. A video review reversed the decision to award a penalty kick and Neymar's frustrations a few minutes later led to a yellow card. Alongside those rapid sorties came more considered touches and the back-heel with which he released Willian before the opening goal, a constructive move rather than an extravagance, was indicative of a player thinking about consequences rather than simply revelling in actions. Tite came to join him.

Though if Jesus continues to start and Brazil don't win the World Cup, the refusal to drop the Manchester City man for Firmino will probably be blamed even though, should the worst happen to Tite's team, this will probably not be the main reason.

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Brazil vs Mexico: Neymar steers Selecaoto last eight