Neymar, Roberto Firmino Push Brazil Past Mexico at 2018 World Cup

Brazil sealed their quarter-final place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Monday as they dispatched Mexico 2-0 at the Samara Arena in Russia. 

Neymar broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half when he finished off a fine team move—that he himself started—from close range.

Roberto Firmino added the second in an 88th-minute counter-attack when Guillermo Ochoa could only direct Neymar’s shot into his path.

Neymar Needs to Be More of a Team Player Despite Superb Goal

During the group stage, Neymar was often guilty of trying to go it alone, reminiscent of the 2014 World Cup in which he represented the Selecao’s sole hope of winning the tournament.

He need not do that this time around as Brazil boasts a collection of strong options in the final third, and he was rewarded for showing faith in his team-mates with his goal.

After a goalless first half in which both teams tried to impose themselves on the contest, the game was delicately poised heading into the second period.

Dribbling with the ball on the edge of the area, Neymar elected to backheel the ball to Willian rather than fire into the crowd or attempt to draw a foul, and the Chelsea winger delivered it back to him in a dangerous area:

Football journalist Tim Vickery and CNN Sport were impressed:

Philippe Coutinho’s goal against Switzerland was a fantastic strike from distance, but this was Brazil’s best moment of the World Cup so far, and it was borne out of Neymar’s trust in his team-mates to keep the move going and return it to him at the right time.

The 26-year-old showed during his time with Barcelona that he can be part of a cohesive attacking unit.

While he was still able to showcase his individual skills at the Camp Nou, he had excellent chemistry with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, and the trio dovetailed well together because they played to each other’s strengths and shared responsibility between them.

Neymar can lead Brazil to glory here in Russia, but to maximise the Selecao’s chances he needs to link up with his team-mates in that fashion. If he does, we should see more of the slick attacking play we expect from Brazil along the way.

source: bleacher by CHRISTOPHER SIMPSON

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