Russia 2018 Watch: Brazil conquer Mexico
PUBLISHED: 18:01 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:01 02 July 2018
Read our World Cup blog over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews one of the last 16 ties on day 19 of the tournament
Brazil and Mexico had met in 40 previous encounters in all competition, with the South Americans triumphing on 23 occasions to El Tricolor’s 10.
The last meeting between the pair was a friendly back in 2015, which ended up as a 2-0 victory for the five-time World Cup winners.
The Mexicans hadn’t scored in their three previous meetings including back in the 2014 World Cup, where they held Brazil to a goalless draw.
The Canarinho are unbeaten in their four World Cup encounters, winning three matches and scoring 11 times, while the Mexicans are still waiting to find their first goal against the Brazilians in the tournament.
The Verde e Amarelo were unbeaten in eight encounters against CONCACAF opponents at the tournament, keeping clean sheets in all but one of them: a 5-2 victory against Costa Rica in 2002 (the last occasion in which they won the World Cup).
Since 1970, Brazil had progressed into the knockout stages of every single World Cup, while the Central Americans made it out of the group stage for a seventh consecutive campaign.
Brazil have had a mixed bag of results in World Cup fixtures played on July 2, winning 3-1 against rivals Argentina in 1982 and losing 2-1 to the eventual runners-up Netherlands in the 2010 quarter-finals.
On the other hand, the Mexicans were defeated in their only previous World Cup match contested on this day – a 2-1 defeat to Switzerland in 1950.
Mexico started the brighter between the two sides but couldn’t make the most of their rare foray forwards and after the 20th minute, the Brazilians grew into the game – with Neymar and Philippe Coutinho drawing a couple of fine saves from Guillermo Ochoa, who was the man of the match in their last World Cup meeting.
Ochoa was in the thick of the action, two minutes into the second half to deny a fierce strike from Coutinho, following a corner.
However, he was to be breached in the 51st minute when Willian’s low delivery across the face of goal found Neymar, who tapped in at the back-post.
Neymar was the centre of attention, as per usual, and more recently was the subject of an internet meme of him tumbling and rolling several times.
He undoubtedly topped that Oscar-worthy performance today after substitute Miguel Layún trod on the Brazilian’s ankle in the 71st minute, however despite his theatrics (which ITV pundit and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill labelled as ‘pathetic’), Layún went unpunished.
Gary Lineker also weighed in on the play-acting on Twitter saying: “Neymar has the lowest pain threshold of any player in World Cups since Opta stats began.”
However, there was other punishment to be served for Mexico in the 89th minute as Brazil doubled their lead through substitute Roberto Firmino, who tapped in from close range after Neymar’s poked-finish was smothered by Ochoa.
The goal was the South Americans’ 228th in World Cup history, a record high as Mexico missed out on the quinto partido (fifth game – quarter-finals) for a seventh consecutive campaign.