By Izuchukwu Okosi
Neymar and Roberto Firmino were on target Monday as Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Coach Tite’s side will face the winner of the Belgium and Japan game later in the evening.
Mexico made the first attacking moves with the quartet of Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela and Andres Guardado causing the Brazilian defence all sorts of problems.
Neymar instigated a Brazilian attack in the 25th minute but Guillermo Ochoa in goal for Mexico made himself big and saved his low shot.
Neymar was also denied any chance to cause havoc five minutes later thanks to a superb piece of defending by 20-year-old right back Edson Alvarez although the youngster was yellow carded for a foul on the PSG star soon afterwards.
Philiipe Coutinho unleashed a shot at the edge of the Mexican vital area but Ochoa palmed the ball away for a corner.
Mexico’s captain Guardado fired a longer range shot but perhaps should have found a well placed and unmarked Lozano just at the edge of the Brazilian penalty area.
The north Americans paid for their profligacy in the 51st minute as Willian darted to the left side of the Mexican defence to cross the ball which found an outstretched legs of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus at close range but it was the former who converted for the first goal of the match.
The Neymar goal certainly put a spring in the Brazilians’ collective steps and it was Paulinho who rifled in another shot kept out by Ochoa close to an hour played.
Vela’s effort after the Paulinho shot culminated in a corner but the action soon swung to the other end of the pitch as Willian drilled in a cracker which Ochoa pushed out for a corner for the Samba boys.
Brazil made it 2-0 through substitute Roberto Firmino with a simple tap in two minutes to the end of the game after Neymar’s good run and cross down the Mexican right side of defence.
By Izuchukwu Okosi