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Brazil vs. Mexico 2018 World Cup: Neymar, Firmino combine to take Brazil to the quarterfinals

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With an assist from Neymar, Roberto Firmino finds the net. (Dan Mullan/Getty Images) Brazil 2, Mexico 0

Samara Arena, Samara

Brazil and Neymar served notice that they remain a force to be reckoned with in this World Cup. Not that it’s catching anyone by surprise – Brazil is, after all, a powerhouse, and the betting favorite to win the title – but with Neymar taking charge in the second half, it advanced past the round of 16 with a 2-0 victory over Mexico.

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The result is a crushing disappointment for El Tri, which opened the World Cup with such promise, upsetting reigning champion Germany. But Mexico faltered against Sweden in its group stage finale, and has now lost in the round of 16 in seven consecutive World Cups. No country has played in more World Cup games without ever winning the tournament.

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Brazil, the five-time champions, is the reverse of Mexico at this stage of the World Cup. This is the seventh straight tournament in which the   Selecao have advanced at least to the quarterfinals

Brazil will play the Japan-Belgium winner in a 2 p.m. Eastern quarterfinal Friday in Kazan. Japan and Belgium play at 2 p.m. Monday;  follow that match here

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In-game updates

In a second half dominated by Neymar, Brazil effectively put the game out of reach. Neymar sprinted down the field toward the goal, getting off a shot that a closing Roberto Firmino put into the net in the 89th minute

FIRMINO MAKES IT 2-0!

Neymar's shot gets deflected into Firmino's path and the Liverpool man taps it home to double Brazil's lead. pic.twitter.com/myy7bXRehU

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2018 Neymar feels a foot

Controversy arises when Neymar goes to the ground in a tussle with Miguel Layun and suddenly starts rolling in agony and gripping his right ankle

Replays showed that Layun stepped on his ankle. After a few minutes of treatment and agonized emoting that was either real or pretend, Neymar remains in the game in the 70th minute. Of course he does. No yellow card

Fair or foul? 😳 pic.twitter.com/XMJUEzEctz

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2018 Moments later Carlos Salcedo is given a yellow for getting physical with Neymar, whose acting game, like his soccer game, is on point

Neymar's skin cells feels pain more than mere mortals. And gravity

Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 2, 2018 GOAL!

Neymar breaks through, giving Brazil a 1-0 lead by taking a pass from Willian and putting it past Guillermo Ochoa in the opening minutes of the second half

Willian drove through the penalty area as Neymar curled toward the goal, kicking home Willian‘s pass across the face of the goal. He was second in line waiting to take the Willian pass, but his quickness gave him the advantage and he scores from about three yards out. The goal made Brazil the World Cup‘s all-time leader in goals, breaking a tie with Germany, according to ESPN

NEYMAR PUTS BRAZIL AHEAD!

The Brazilian taps home a Willian cross to make it 1-0 early in the second half. pic.twitter.com/p7aDi34UhP

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2018 Gisele is giddy

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen is pretty excited about her country’s performance in the World Cup

Brasil, Brasil, Brasil!!!!!! Rumo ao Hexa!!!!! 💚💛🤗

Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) July 2, 2018 Chicharito out

Javier Hernandez comes off in the 60th minute, with Raul Jimenez replacing him. Hernandez has been limping and grabbing at the back of his leg

Philippe Coutinho gets a nice look at the goal three minutes into the second half but Ochoa is again in the right place at the right time

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First-half updates

Brazil has dominated with 11 shots (three on goal) in the first half, but Mexico is holding them off, and the teams take a 0-0 score into halftime. Neymar has had the best chances so far for Brazil, which has come on strong after Mexico‘s initial energetic burst

Still, Mexico is playing well and this match is delivering all the excitement and emotion that was expected of it. Although Javier Hernandez was grabbing at the back of his right leg in the first half, he is back on the pitch

Key stats:

👉 For the 20th time this #WorldCup it is 0-0 at HT, but only one match also finished 0-0: #DENFRA in group stage

👉 82/136 goals have been scored in the second half at this year's tournament

In short? Still a good chance of goals in the second half! #BRAMEX pic.twitter.com/8NxkabNuLt

— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) July 2, 2018 Felipe Luis gets a yellow card  for bringing down Carlos Vela in the 42nd minute, but Vela’s kick produces nothing

In the 38th minute, Edson Alvarez takes down Neymar and earns a yellow card for his efforts. Although Neymar rolled multiple times after the collision, this time he wasn’t overacting. (Really.) His free kick, though, sails over the bar and Mexico holds fast

Neymar gets a great chance, controlling the ball as he moves toward the goal, but Guillermo Ochoa gets a hand on the ball in the 25th minute. Brazil is starting to find gaps

Neymar gets in behind for the first time for Ochoa makes the save to keep it scoreless! pic.twitter.com/jeokCoYMG6

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2018 Mexico continues to take the fight to Brazil, but in the 18th minute Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) is grabbing at his hamstring a bit. That’s a situation worth keeping an eye on. Brazil has a slight edge on possession at the 22-minute mark, 51 to 49 percent

Mexico has the early flurry, but Brazil charges down the field and, in the fourth minute, Neymar gets his first chance with a shot on goal from the middle of the field. Guillermo Ochoa fields it cleanly. Mexico continues to press, but with no results. As expected, Mexico comes out fast and strong, taking the game to Brazil early

The Samara arena is rocking, with a crowd that seems to side more with Mexico. Perhaps they’re just rooting for another upset in a tournament that has been filled with them. It’s a warm day, but the humidity is low and it’s bearable

Team profiles

Brazil

Previous results: 1-1 tie with Switzerland; 2-0 victories over Costa Rica and Serbia. Best World Cup finish: Champions in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002. Notable: Brazil last failed to reach the quarterfinals 28 years ago. FIFA world ranking: 2. ELO world ranking: 1. Mexico

Previous results: 1-0 victory over Germany; 2-1 victory over South Korea; 3-0 loss to Sweden. Best World Cup finish: Fourth place, 1966. Notable: No country has played more World Cup games (56) without ever winning the trophy. FIFA world ranking: 15. ELO world ranking: 19. Read more about the World Cup:

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