Neymar believes critics of his Brazil theatrics are trying to 'undermine' him

Virginia Santiago
July 3, 2018

With Brazil looking to hold on to a 1-0 lead through the final whistle, Neymar would instead help his team to an insurance goal in the final minutes of the match.

Neymar broke through Mexico's stern resistance by setting up the opener when his back-heel released Willian.

Mexico never really looked likely to get back into the game, and Brazil made sure two minutes from time.

Brazil secured victory when Neymar turned provider in the 88th minute, finding Firmino in the box and the Liverpool forward made no mistake.

But the Brazilian superstar was fine, and we have proof: Moments later, he was speeding down the pitch to set up Roberto Firmino for the game-clinching goal.

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It was the classic "tiki-taka" style that led to a World Cup title in 2010, bookended by a pair of European Championships. Spain had 25 shots, nine of which were on frame, but Akinfeev saved them all, only conceded on an unfortunate own goal.

However, in keeping with a series of performances blighted by dramatic playacting in the group stage, Neymar again won himself few friends in Samara by rolling around when gently stepped on by Miguel Layun.

Mexico's national football's team torrid run in last-16 of FIFA World Cups continued when they lsot to Brazil on Monday.

"We had control of the match, but to me it is just shameful that so much time could be lost over one player", the Mexico coach said.

'There was very little contact and every single time the referee stops the game.

"That suggests that Brazil also knew that we were a risky rival".

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Russian Federation pulled level towards the end of the first half when Dzyuba's header hit Gerard Piqué's arm at a corner. Forward Artem Dzyuba buried it for his third goal of the tournament to awaken the subdued crowd.

Neymar's dispute with Layun unfolded as the Mexico substitute tried to recover the ball. "Lay" was the operative word; beneath a crowd of pointing fingers it was Neymar, writhing like a dog that had overexerted in the stifling Samara sun, who commanded the attention and immediately it became clear that, for better or worse, Brazil's star turn would become the talking point once again.

Willian duly returned the favour and Neymar was on hand to poke the Chelsea midfielder's superb delivery past Guillermo Ochoa.

"I think it's a shame for football", Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio said of Neymar's antics. This is a strong sport, a man's sport and I think there shouldn't be so much acting. Hirving Lozano's half-volley was well blocked by Miranda, while at the other end, Ochoa was equal to Neymar's powerful drive from just outside the penalty area.

Minutes after the restart Brazil took the lead in exquisite fashion with Neymar starting and ending the move. Tite came to join him.

With Germany, Argentina and Spain among the contenders already eliminated, Brazil's hopes of a sixth World Cup title have received an extra lift.

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It also provides for the allocation of $25 billion on securing the border with Mexico , including the construction of the wall. But community groups say it is not enough, demanding Trump's administration stop caging and prosecuting immigrants.

Brazil advanced to a Friday quarterfinal in Kazan, Russia, against the victor of Monday's Belgium-Japan game.

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