After a rocky start, Brazil reminded us why they’re the tournament favourites. In their best outing of the tournament, Brazil punched their ticket to the Quarterfinal with a 2-0 win over Mexico. The Mexicans fall again in the round of 16, for Neymar and Brazil was just too much for them to handle.
Brazil 2-0 Mexico: Neymar and Brazil Advance
The First Half
Mexico came out flying. They were winning the ball all over the field and got a lot of good chances in the first 20 minutes. Chucky Lozano had two shots blocked, Guadardo forced a couple of Allison interventions, and Vela missed the target by a mile. But the signs of hope for Mexico were truly there.
As the first half went by Brazil began to come to life. After about 25 minutes Neymar and Coutinho began combing, opening up Mexico’s right side. Time and time again one of them would get the ball and go at Mexico. Neymar was able to get by Mexican right back Edson Alvarez on a few occasions, forcing a Memo Ochoa save, and getting Alvarez booked.
Coutinho was doing just as much damage. Getting multiple shots off from his favoured spot on the left edge of the box. They may not have gone in but you could feel the pressure building. Brazil had the talent to defeat this Mexican defence, it was just going to take more than 45’ to do so.
The Second Half
Mexico decided that they were going to make a halftime substitution taking off their captain Rafa Marquez at halftime, replacing him with Miguel Layun. That proved to be a poor decision, without Marquez Mexico had no shield in front of their back four. Suddenly Neymar and Coutinho had even more space to work with.
And it wasn’t just them; Willian and Paulinho kept finding that space too. And, in the 51st minute, they found their breakthrough when Neymar backheeled the ball to Willian in that all important space. Willian pushed the ball past the Mexican defence and put a low skimmer across the goal. And arriving at the back post was Neymar to finish it off, 1-0.
From there Brazil kept probing; Gabriel Jesus had a chance, Neymar had another chance, Willian had multiple shots saved by Ochoa. And as they kept probing the game got pretty fiesty, as you could expect with this cast of characters. Neymar was doing Neymar things, the bad, floppy things. But still, the game went on.
And on and on it went. Until the 88’ minute when Neymar got free on the left side and was able to get a toe-poke type shot off that Ochoa saved, right into the path of fresh sub Roberto Firminio, who finished it off. And with it, the game was done and dusted. Brazil had gone out into the heat and taken care of business.
The Next Round
It’s the most complete game that Brazil have played all tournament. Brazil saw what happened over the last few days and decided they didn’t need that type of drama. A comfortable 2-0 victory sees them through to the quarterfinal.
In their quarterfinal, they will play the winner of Belgium and Japan. Whether they get Belgium or Japan there is no doubt Neymar and Brazil will be the favourite. And if they play like this against whomever, they will be tough to beat.
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