While ostensibly fairly even for the most part, Brazil simply conjured two more goals than Mexico to send their opponents out at the last 16 stage for the seventh consecutive World Cup – a cursed run, referred to by fans as ‘El Quinto Partido’ (The Fifth Game – as in ‘the match they never get to see’), that stretches back to 1994.
Indeed, Mexico may well have conspired to give themselves the kiss of death before the match when several members died their hair blonde akin to the Romania side of ’98. And just like that Romanian side, El Tri were sent packing in their very next outing.
After struggling to get the better of his man-markers for the majority of the first half, Neymar eventually seized centre stage when he began resorting to his usual histrionics in an attempt to start influencing decisions and drive his opponents to distraction.
Neymar went through the entire repertoire, flailing and feigning before eventually staying upright long enough to open the scoring.
With Brazil squeezing Mexico, the PSG striker made the breakthrough in the 50th minute, exchanging an elongated one-two with Willian before latching onto a low cross to slide home from close range…
Despite the goal, Neymar still continued to play the victim card, with his cartoonish reaction to Miguel Layun’s errant stud proving to be a real highlight of the second half…
Miraculously, Neymar was able to clamber back to his feet and soldier on through the pain
The Walking Wounded once again returning to an upright position for long enough to lay on Brazil’s second goal for Roberto Firmino, who had only entered the fray minutes earlier as a late replacement for the entirely anonymous Gabriel Jesus.
Neymar was definitely going for the dinked shot, but we’ll just glaze over that for now.
So, it’s the Selecao who continue their march on into the quarters by doing just enough to get by on a match-by-match basis.
Given the performances of some of their fellow supposed favourites, that might well prove enough to win the damn thing outright as and when the time comes.