Neymar scored his 57th goal for Brazil and grabbed an assist as they sealed their place in the quarter-finals after a 2-0 win over Mexico.
In the scorching conditions in Samara, the Mexicans, who started with 39-year-old Rafael Marquez, made a frenetic start but were unable to convert their chances. Tite’s side handled the early pressure well - in particular Filipe Luis, who played instead of Marcelo, who had a back spasm due to a dodgy mattress.
The Selecao ended the half stronger with Neymar and Philippe Coutinho forcing Guillermo Ochoa into good saves. But the keeper could not do anything to prevent the PSG forward breaking the deadlock after backheeling the ball to Willian, who flashed in a cross for him to score from close range.
The five-time World Cup winners went up a gear and dominated the rest of the game as the Mexicans ran out of steam with Willian and Neymar going close.
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.
And the former Barcelona man, whose histrionics upset the Mexican players and coaches, was involved in the second goal to seal victory with his poke towards goal falling to substitute Roberto Firmino to tap the ball into an empty net.
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.
Are Brazil improving as the tournament progresses? The short answer is no. This was similar to the performances against Costa Rica and Serbia last week when they did just about enough to win. There is nothing spectacular about this side but they are efficient, know how to go up in gears and defend brilliantly as a unit with three clean sheets from four matches. And they have a strong bench to call upon if plan A does not work.
Neymar Jr of Brazil celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico): The keeper made a string of impressive saves, particularly in the first half, to keep his side in the game and has been outstanding throughout the tournament.
Brazil: Alisson 6, Fagner 6, Silva 5, Miranda 6, Luis 6, Casemiro 6, Paulinho 5, Willian 8, Coutinho 5, Neymar 8, Jesus 5. Subs: Fernandinho n/a, Firmino n/a, Marquinhos n/a.