Brazil knockout Mexico to reach World Cup quarter-final

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Brazil defender Thiago Silva meanwhile heaped praise on Neymar, who only returned to playing shortly before the tournament following an injury layoff of more than three months.

Second-half goals from Neymar and Roberto Firmino saw Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 to advance to the World Cup quarter-finals in Samara on Tuesday. Neymar then ran into the penalty area and slid to tap Willian's cross into the net.

After a goalless first half, Neymar soon gave Brazil the lead before substitute Firmino put the game out of Mexico's reach during the closing stages. It turned out to be pure histrionics.

Moments later, with the referee finding no fault by Layun in the incident, Neymar was back on his feet and running perfectly.

Then, things took a darker turn when Layun appeared to step on Neymar following another altercation on the touchline.

Brazil's quarterfinal opponent will be determined in Monday's late match between Belgium and Japan.

Five-time winners Brazil took some time to get going in the face of some hard-working Mexican pressing but went closest to opening the scoring in the first half.

For Mexico, the defeat is no doubt a big disappointment for a talented group of players and millions of fans around the country who, after a promising start to the tournament, had dared to dream that El Tri could go farther in Russian Federation 2018 than the team had ever gone before.

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But tensions flared following a tussle with midfielder Miguel Layun as Mexico battled to stay in the tournament.

Four years after a 7-1 humiliation by eventual champions Germany in the semi-finals, Brazil have emerged as one of the most rounded teams still in the competition.

Neymar had a rather strong reaction to it, some of which could have been motivated by the interest of drawing attention to the incident.

"But, I'm still proud, I'm happy with the job we've all done, with the support of the people, it never stopped and was there in all the stadiums we played in".

"Look, I think it's more of an attempt to undermine me than anything else", Neymar said.

"I don't much care for criticism", Neymar said, "not even for praise".

Another added: "It's either watching dolphins flop around at SeaWorld or watching Brazil play".

The action started when Neymar accomplished something Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are still looking to cross off of their bucket lists - scoring a goal in the knockout stage. Fresh among tiring legs, Firmino was able to evade the defence to get in the right place to score the second goal. When he finally made a decision to face the media after a match-winning performance on Monday, he was dressed to impress, if not to kill.