Neymar shines as Brazil beat Mexico to reach World Cup quarters

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Samara, Russia

Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup on Monday in Samara, with the five-time champions battling past a stubborn El Tri side.
Neymar scored one and assisted Roberto Firmino for the other as Mexico ran out of steam after a fine first half performance.
Brazil will play the winner of Belgium v Japan in Kazan on Friday in the quarterfinal.
Mexico started the game superbly as a cross from Andres Guardado on the left was only half cleared by Alisson and Lozano’s shot was blocked.
El Tri continued to threaten on the break and Carlos Vela was enjoying plenty of the ball on the left, as that set up another chance but Hector Herrera’s shot was blocked.
Brazil finally got going in the first half as Neymar cut in from the left and his shot was smothered by Guillermo Ochoa at the near post. Soon after both Gabriel Jesus and Coutinho got shots off but Brazil were second best as the half time whistle blew.
Jesus then danced through Mexico’s defense but his shot was saved by Ochoa and then another effort was blocked by the El Tri defense. Neymar went down theatrically to win a free kick but he curled the resulting free kick way over.
At half time 39-year-old Rafael Marquez came off and Miguel Layun replaced him in a reshuffled for Juan Carlos Osorio as Layun went to right back and Edson Alvarez moved into holding midfield.
Ochoa saved well from Coutinho as the playmaker was allowed to dribble inside easily from a corner kick and get a shot off.
Then on the break Jesus Gallardo then drove forward and then curled inches over with Lozano free on his right.
Neymar scored the opener after fantastic work from Willian who turned on the jets to glide past his marker and then cross to the back post for Brazil’s talisman to tap home.
Paulinho then forced Ochoa into a fine stop at the near post as he curled in a powerful effort, while Casemiro was then booked, meaning he will miss Brazil’s World Cup quarterfinal.
On the break Raul Jimenez, on as a sub for Javier Hernandez, played in Lozano who found Vela and his shot was pushed over by Alisson. Ochoa then tipped over brilliantly from Willian’s shot as Brazil pushed hard to get the killer second goal late on.
Neymar received plenty of rough challenges from Mexico’s players throughout, despite some embellishment, and Layun was shown stepping on him on the sidelines but no VAR review was sanctioned.
Brazil’s star man had the last laugh as he ran free down the left and his shot was saved by Ochoa but substitute Firmino tapped home to wrap up the 2-0 win and the Selecao into the last eight.—AP

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