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.
World Cup Qualification CONMEBOL
Raphinha scores twice as Brazil cruise to qualifying victory over Uruguay
15/10/2021 AT 07:51
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.

TALKING POINT

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.

PLAYER RATINGS

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.

Mexico: Ochoa 9, Alvarez 5, Salcedo 6, Ayala 6, Gallardo 5, Herrera 6, Marquez 5, Lozano 7, Vela 7, Guardado 6, Hernandez 5. Subs: Layun 5, Dos Santos 5, Jimenez 5.

The story of the game: Brazil 2-0 Mexico

KEY MOMENTS:

25’ - GOOD SAVE! Brilliant from Neymar, beating two defenders and getting in a shot from a tight angle which the keeper does well to save off his line with his left hand.
48’ - GOOD SAVE! Brazil take a quick corner, Coutinho sells a dummy and rifles in a curling effort which the keeper beats away.

Brazil's forward Roberto Firmino (L) gestures as he celebrates after scoring a goal

Image credit: Getty Images

51’ - GOAL FOR BRAZIL! Willian flashes the ball across the goal and Neymar is there to slide it in from close range.
59’ - GOOD SAVE! Willian releaes Fagner does the flank who cuts the ball back to Casemiro whose first-time effort in the box is well saved.
64’ - GREAT SAVE! Willian with a stepover before firing in a rising effort which Ochoa does well to palm over.
88’ - GOAL FOR BRAZIL! Neymar is through on goal, his shot is saved and it falls to Firmino to tap it into an empty net.

KEY STATS

  • Neymar has scored six goals from 38 shots in World Cup finals.
  • Rafael Marquez made his 148th cap for Mexico at his fifth World Cup.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

Football
Pele provides positive update but remains in intensive care
11/09/2021 AT 08:33
World Cup Qualification CONMEBOL
Messi scores hat-trick, breaks Pele record in Argentina win
10/09/2021 AT 06:35