Neymar barged his way into the World Cup limelight with a goal, an assist and another helping of histrionics as Brazil roared into the quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Mexico on Monday that inflicted a seventh straight last-16 exit on the central Americans.
The PSG forward was both architect and executioner for Brazil, sliding home in the second half and then teeing up Roberto Firmino late on, but he also writhed on the floor, seemingly in agony, after Mexico’s Miguel Layun had made slight contact with his ankle.
That should not overshadow his generally positive display however, as the five-times champions beat an otherwise stubborn Mexico, whose World Cup began with such promise with a victory over champions Germany, but ended in familiar fashion in the first knockout round.
It was the seventh World Cup running that Brazil have reached the last eight, where they will now face Belgium or Japan, while Mexico have not made it to that stage since they hosted the tournament in 1986.
Mexico, who enjoyed an enviable recent record against Brazil having won seven of their previous 15 matches against them, were a threat on the counter in the first half but then faded without ever really being put to the sword.