Neymar shines as Brazil oust Mexico


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Brazilian streets erupted after their national team clinched a 2-0 victory over Mexico to book a place in the World Cup quarterfinal courtesy of Neymar and Roberto Firmino second half strikes. Midway through a sleek second half from Brazil, a commotion broke out in front of the Mexico bench and it took a matter of seconds to work out who lay at its heart. If the win against Serbia in their last group game makes a point on why Brazil are favourites to win the title, the victory over Mexico on Monday did justice to the fact that Tite's team is the best in the tournament. After South Korea defeated Germany in the final game of the group stage, videos went viral of the Koreans and Mexicans celebrating the elimination of Germany together.

But the Brazilians will be without Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro for the quarter-final in Kazan on Friday, against either Belgium or Japan, after he picked up a booking.

He scored the opening goal at the Cosmos Stadium as his brilliant back heel to Willian bamboozled El Tri's defence, allowing the Chelsea man to tee Neymar up for a simple finish at the back post.

Firmino has played second fiddle to Gabriel Jesus for much of the tournament, but he scored against Mexico within just minutes of entering the field. Asked about his performances in Russian Federation he added: "I am content about what I did at this World Cup but I can't really be happy because we did not go through".

The goalkeeper could do nothing about Brazil's opener five minutes after the restart, though, as Willian's left-footed cross found Neymar, who was cutting into the six-yard box and made no mistake from close range.

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The average positions often show the striker at the top of a diamond midfield, and this can be seen from the Mexico game, with Jesus (9) as deep as Philippe Coutinho (11), with Neymar (10) the furthest forward.

While Layun didn't receive a caution for his action, he clearly stepped on Neymar and enabled a stoppage that halted some of Mexico's momentum.

Between those two goals, Neymar appeared to be intentionally trodden on by Mexico's Miguel Layun, prompting a typically theatrical reaction from the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

We created some expectations and I can say yes he's improving on this aspect. "We know we have players that can decide the game".

"The most unfortunate moment for us was the game against Sweden", said Layun.

"I think he is a player with a lot of talent who hopefully one day dedicates himself to playing a little more".