World Cup last-16 match report Brazil v Mexico, 02 July 2018

Tuesday, 03 Jul, 2018

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.

In a World Cup which has had little respect for pedigree, Brazil made sure it did not become the latest heavyweight to fall with a 2-0 win over Mexico to reach the quarterfinals in Russian Federation. Off a quick counter attack, Neymar backheeled to Willian who returned a attractive pass back to a sliding Neymar who poked the ball in for the 1-0 lead.

Neymar, 26, is the most-fouled player in Russian Federation so far with 23, including six in the Mexico match and an apparent attempt by Miguel Layun to step on his ankle that was not called and left the Paris Saint-Germain player writhing in pain afterwards.

Neymar then showed his unselfish side, crossing for Robert Firmino to score in the 88th minute.

With the result, Brazil booked a place in the quarterfinals against either Belgium and Japan in the day's other last 16 game in Rostov Arena. It turned out to be pure histrionics.

Neymar continued to be in the thick of action as he appeared to have his ankle trod on by Miguel Layun, who was trying to retrieve the ball and was fortunate to escape a red card.

The world's most expensive player led Brazil over Mexico 2-0 Monday and into the quarterfinals of the tournament for the seventh straight time.

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The Selecao ended the half stronger with Neymar and Philippe Coutinho forcing Guillermo Ochoa into good saves.

'It's a man's sport and there shouldn't be so much acting.

Brazil kept up the intensity as Neymar weaved through two defenders to curl in from an acute angle, but Ochoa spread out his right arm to punch clear. There was a slackening of intensity after that, which allowed Brazil more into the game, but what many would have put down simply to the effort of stifling Brazil in ferocious heat, Osorio saw as the fault of Brazil's play-acting and the willingness of Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi to go along with it.

Brazil boss Tite also came to Neymar's defence after the match, calling his No. 10 "agile" and "fast" while asking journalists: "Is it wrong to feign, to provoke the players in the last third?"

"The key was to play together without the ball because with the ball we know the quality of the team", Willian said.

It can have no complaints about its loss to Brazil, though; the Brazilians were the better team and looked fresher even at the end.