Russia 2018: Neymar stars as Brazil dismiss Mexico

Brazil dominated Mexico from start to finish
Brazil dominated Mexico from start to finish

Tournament favourites, Brazil, roared in the World Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Mexico as Neymar shone with a goal and an assist that dumped their central Americans rivals.

Neymar and Roberto Firmino scored a goal each in the second half to beat record their 25th victory over the Mexicans and help the Selecaos, avoid the fate that has befallen other favourites like Germany, Argentina and Spain.

The defeat, and the stage for it, will be sadly familiar for Mexico. They depart the tournament in its first knockout-round game for the seventh straight World Cup — a stunning run of bad losses, bad matchups and just plain bad luck.

They can have no complaints about their loss to Brazil, though; the Brazilians were the better team, and looked fresher even at the end.

Roberto Firmino made it 2-0 for Brazil

Neymar, Willian and Coutinho ran elaborate weaves through the Mexico defense, and whenever Mexico tried to break out, Brazil’s defensive core — Casemiro, backed by Thiago Silva and Miranda — closed them down before they could cause any trouble.

The PSG forward slid home in the second half and then teed up Roberto Firmino late on as the five-time champions beat an otherwise stubborn Mexico, whose World Cup began with such promise with a victory over champions Germany, but ended in familiar fashion in the first knockout round.

It was the seventh World Cup running that Brazil have reached the last eight, where they will now face Belgium or Japan, while Mexico have not made it to that stage since they hosted the tournament in 1986.

Mexico, who enjoyed an enviable recent record against Brazil having won seven of their previous 15 matches against them, were a threat on the counter in the first half but then faded without ever really being put to the sword.