Monday, 16 July, 2018

Neymar dazzles and disappoints as Brazil reach World Cup quarters

Will Neymar have a goal to celebrate Will Neymar have a goal to celebrate
Isaac Mcdaniel | 04 July, 2018, 00:10

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

Neymar was not the only player who looked sharp for Brazil in the win that sent Mexico packing from the round of 16 at the World Cup for the seventh-straight time.

A Mexico fan blows a kiss before the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Mexico at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 2, 2018.

Following the match, Brazil assistant Sylvinho called Willian's play "beautiful" and also had plaudits for front-man Gabriel Jesus.

But many are exhausted of the theatrics, not least Mexican coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who criticised a nameless player for "too many faking fouls".

Neymar scored the first goal shortly after halftime to give Brazil a 1-0 lead. The team could've had more than one goal in the period but Ochoa pulled off a string of good saves. With 88 minutes on the clock, the substituted Roberto Firmino cemented the lead with a fluky touch that came after Ochoa denied Neymar.

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

Will Neymar continue Brazil's march toward glory, or will Mexico's underdog run progress further?

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Analysis by Express Sport from social tracking company Pulsar shows there were a staggering five million tweets regarding Messi last week, with a two million spike on Saturday when Argentina lost 4-3 to France to exit the World Cup. This could've been another of them if it hadn't been for Ochoa who, just like four years ago, kept denying nearly every Brazilian on the pitch.

Brazil's forward Neymar, on the ground, reacts after interacting with Mexico defender Miguel Layun, right, during their 2018 World Cup round-of-16 match in Samara on July 2, 2018. In a delayed reaction, Neymar made the most of Layun stepping on his ankle, rolling around with his hand covering his eyes.

"Unfortunately, and it is a shame for football, we wasted a lot of time because of one player", Juan Carlos Osorio said.

Neymar broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half when he finished off a fine team move-that he himself started-from close range.

There is nothing wrong with having a player of Firmino's quality on the bench, and if he can come late in games to tire and already flagging opposition defence, then it's an ideal scenario.

Neymar was asked about Osorio's comments but it was the moment Tite took charge. Defensive solidity is paramount; Brazil know they have the players who can score aplenty at the other end.

Brazil are next in action in Friday's quarter-final against Belgium.

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