Neymar, Firmino fire Brazil to quarter-final

Neymar, Firmino fire Brazil to quarter-final

Neymar, Firmino fire Brazil to quarter-final

But as the match progressed Mexico exhausted in sweltering conditions and any hopes of an upset ended when Neymar created space down the left and put Firmino through for an easy goal.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio hit out at Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi's handling of their 2-0 World Cup quarter-final loss to Brazil, claiming Neymar play-acted. For the opener, Neymar slid toward the goal and tapped in Willian's low cross from the left.

The 26-year-old talisman struck the opening goal on 51 minutes to Brazil 1-0 up. It turned out to be pure histrionics.

Brazil's Roberto Firmino scores their second goal against Mexico during their World Cup Round of 16 match in Samara Arena, Samara, Russia, July 2, 2018.

Neymar reacted dramatically after appearing to be trodden on by Mexico substitute Miguel Layun. But not before trying to step on Layun.

Brazil will face Belgium or Japan - who meet in Rostov-on-Don in the day's second match (19:00 BST) - in their last-eight tie in Kazan on Friday.

Not so for the Mexicans, who have lost in the round of 16 seven straight times.

Even with Marcelo out against El Tri, Brazil coach Tite had the luxury of replacing him with another of the world's best full-backs in Filipe Luis.

"It is a shame for football, we wasted a lot of time because of one player", said Osorio.

Neymar's reaction may have had something to do with it as the Brazilian was criticised from all four corners of the world for his actions.

"I think it's more an attempt to undermine me than anything else", said Neymar when questioned about the incident afterwards.

But, just as Brazil had done early on, Mexico's defense would bend but not break, defending chances from Neymar and Coutinho.

"It was unfair. The ball was not in play and we were off the pitch", he signalled.

"The key was to play together without the ball because with the ball we know the quality of the team", Willian said.

He was the most-targeted player in the group stage of the tournament (17 fouls drawn), including a historic 10 fouls suffered against Switzerland. A video review reversed the decision to award a penalty kick and Neymar's frustrations a few minutes later led to a yellow card.

But after dominating the first 20 minutes of an entertaining opening period, Brazil came back into the match, bossing the final stages of the half. Belgium and Japan face off later in the day, with the victor facing Brazil on Friday.

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