Published: Tue, July 03, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Neymar leads Brazil to last eight

Neymar leads Brazil to last eight

Tite's side handled the early pressure well - in particular Filipe Luis, who played instead of Marcelo, who had a back spasm due to a dodgy mattress.

Brazil picked up where they had left off after the restart, Coutinho testing Ochoa with a fierce drive after cutting in from the left.

Brazil will now face the winners of Belgium and Japan in the quarterfinals, though Casemiro will be suspended after picking up a yellow card in the second half. It looked like Neymar's game - or even his World Cup - could be over with 20 minutes to go.

Not that the switch slowed down the five-time world champions, though, with Coutinho nearly breaking the deadlock three minutes into the second half with a well-struck effort that Ochoa was forced to beat clear to safety.

The PSG forward was both architect and executioner for Brazil, sliding home in the second half and then teeing up Roberto Firmino late on, but he also writhed on the floor, seemingly in agony, after Mexico's Miguel Layun had made slight contact with his ankle. There is nothing spectacular about this side but they are efficient, know how to go up in gears and defend brilliantly as a unit with three clean sheets from four matches.

Mexico (4-3-3): Guillermo Ochoa; Jesus Gallardo, Hugo Ayala, Carlos Salcedo, Edson Alvarez; Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera; Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano. Subs: Layun 5, Dos Santos 5, Jimenez 5.

Brazil will be favorites to advance, but Mexico have already shocked the world once this tournament and should not be counted out.

Brazil faced Mexico in a Round of 16 clash in Russian Federation, with Neymar giving them the lead in the 51st minute. Neymar has 11 goals and nine assists in his last 19 games for Brazil. Neymar is through on goal, his shot is saved and it falls to Firmino to tap it into an empty net. He now has six goals at the World Cup and 57 in 89 total appearances.

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