Neymar shines as Brazil oust Mexico

"Ten minutes later, Mexico would nearly draw even with Carlos Vela forcing Brazilian keeper Alisson to use every inch of his 6'3" frame to make the leaping save.

"I think it's a shame for football", Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio lamented afterwards, saying Neymar's antics had wasted precious time.

Nevertheless fans of the five-times World Cup winners filled the country's streets from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate their progression in the 2018 tournament.

The two sides are in what is widely regarded as the more hard half of the World Cup bracket, which includes France, Belgium and Uruguay as well as the two teams taking the field this afternoon.

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.

Shocks, mishaps and curiosities have arguably defined this World Cup so far but the tournament needs Neymar.

With the match going back and forth, the victor came on 51 minutes off a lovely bit of play by Neymar.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward then turned provider for Roberto Firmino to score with a tap-in on 88 minutes to secure their passage into the last eight.

Minutes after the restart Brazil took the lead in exquisite fashion with Neymar starting and ending the move.

Neymar proceeded to roll around like he'd been shot, as commentators could only watch on astounded.

Osorio also criticised Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi for ruling too often for Brazil, though he admitted his team lacked the finishing touch needed to find a goal.

Brazil advanced to a Friday quarterfinal in Kazan, Russia, against the victor of Monday's Belgium-Japan game.

Minutes later, however, Brazil did make the breakthrough after a lovely team goal involving Neymar, whose impudent back heel released Willian down the left side of the area.

Brazil carved out the game's first real chance after 25 minutes as Neymar eliminated two players in the box before seeing his close-range strike kept out by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. But not before trying a stamp on Layun himself. El Tri has always been respected as a team with technical players who play pretty football, but Brazil would've been happy to meet Mexico at this stage of the tournament.

The only blemish for the five-time champions was the second-half booking for Casemiro, which rules him out of the quarter-final clash against either Belgium or Japan.

"We knew he would need to play a few games, but he's back".

  • Stacy Allen