Brazil win, but Neymar and his antics hog headlines

Sherman Parsons
July 4, 2018

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.

Rafael Marquez made his 148th cap for Mexico at his fifth World Cup.

The incident was clearly meant to wind Neymar up, and Layun was lucky to escape punishment.

Although Brazil have not really excited us as they might have at this World Cup, I've ben hugely impressed with their defence at this tournament. "I think they also see our total commitment to trying to reach the goal". "I think it's a shame for football".

"Like you said, we played very well". The world's most expensive player has 11 goals and nine assists in his last 19 games for Brazil.

"This should be a sport of ability, of determination, a game of men, not of so much clowning".

Roberto Firmino added the second in an 88th-minute counter-attack when Guillermo Ochoa could only direct Neymar's shot into his path.

El Tri's Colombian coach criticized the referee for his control of the match, charging that he had been overprotective of Brazilian players by calling fouls on Mexican players for what he saw as innocuous challenges. "I don't much care for criticism, not even for praise, because this can influence in a way the athlete's attitude".

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"I just want to play and I help my team-mates, I have to help my team and that's what I am here for, nothing else".

Brazil, who will have to do without defensive midfielder Casemiro in the quarters after he picked up his second booking, had to wait until the 88th minute to put the match to bed.

Neymar's first real chance came halfway through the first half, the gifted striker showing some nifty footwork to go past two defenders before seeing his effort saved by Ochoa.

Although Neymar has scored only two goals in four games in Russian Federation, he did enter the World Cup after spending three months recovering from a broken right foot.

In the opening stages against Mexico, Brazil were under pressure from an excited opposition side who looked to continue their intense pressing and harrying in midfield, before releasing the talents of Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano, and Carlos Vela.

While his scoring is so often the focus, Neymar also creates goals for his teammates.

But after wins over defending champions Germany and South Korea in the group stage, Mexico failed to score both in the defeat to Sweden in their final group match and again today.

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