Brazil put a resilient Mexican side to the sword in Samara on Monday night to uphold the Central American’s Round of 16 World Cup curse with a 2-0 win.

What Happened

The third elimination of the 2018 FIFA World Cup was an eye watering fixture and when Group E and Group F came together for the Round of 16 and it was one that didn’t disappoint.

Former hosts Brazil came in as favourites but an impressive string of group games saw Mexico looking poised to put in a good challenge to their southern counterparts.

Juan Carlos Osorio’s side started strong testing their opponents through skillful youngster Hirving Lozano but Joao Miranda got in the way.

The two sides continued to trade blows as tough tackles flew in and bodies were put on the line in the feisty affair.

The opener came five minutes after the half time interval when Neymar slid in on the line to tap home a well-placed ball by Willian.

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Mexico continued to put up a fight but the game was all but won when Roberto Firmino slotted home an easy goal from Neymar’s through ball late in the game.

Standout Performances

1. Neymar starred for Brazil yet again chipping in for his nation with a goal and an assist an demonstrating just why his is so valuable in the world game.

2. Carlos Vela had a solid game for Mexico seeing some spectacular efforts on goal swatted away by Alisson in goal but the Central Americans’ main man for the tournament has to be shot-stopper Guillermo Ochoa who made a whopping 6.3 saves per game and put on another show against Brazil.

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3. Willian was another key man in Brazil’s progression to the Quarter Finals using his explosive pace and skill to tear the Mexican defence apart.

Talking Points

Brazil v Mexico came as one of the first games of the tournament free from controversy surrounding the VAR and and penalties awarded and although it did include some expected antics by Neymar the game was hard fought and won by the South Americans.

What’s Next

Brazil have now booked a place in the Quarter Finals against Belgium who sealed a comeback win against the last remaining Asian team in Japan. While Belgium have not progressed past the quarter finals in over 30 years the current crop of players are more than capable and will pose a big threat to Brazil.

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A yellow card to key man Casemiro means the Real Madrid midfielder will miss the Quarter Final paving the way for Fernandinho to step into his place against their European opponents.

Needs Work

Brazil have been tantalising to watch in Russia but there have been issues in front of goal. Gabriel Jesus has been a big part of Brazil’s rejuvenation but the Manchester City youngster needs to make more of his chances after failing to score and grabbing one assist in comparison to Firmino’s output scoring a goal off the bench.

Goal of the Match

Both of Brazil’s goals came in similar fashion breaking away and putting across a good ball to tap home but the first was the better of the two as Willian and Neymar linked up expertly to provide the opener.

Miss of the Match

Neither Brazil nor Mexico were guilty of missing a must-score goal but perhaps the winners could have claimed one or two more with the next best chance falling to Philippe Coutinho from right in front but the Barcelona man sent his effort wide.

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Recent Sports Media graduate from the University of Canberra. Love all things football and can't wait to be part of the growth of the game in Australia. Waiting for the day the FFA come to their senses and hand us an A-League team... but could be waiting a while.