Second half goals from Neymar Junior and Roberto Firmino lifted Brazil to a straight forward 2-0 victory over Mexico in a Round of 16 clash played in Samara, Russia.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s El Tri are one of the five time winners’ favourite World Cup opponents as they extended their tournament unbeaten run against the Central Americans to seven matches.
Brazil, who have played in every edition of the World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1930, took firm control of proceedings midway through the first half after subduing a vibrant Mexico.
El Tri were the better team in the opening exchanges with Carlos Vera and Hirving Lozano troubling Tite’s title favourites with a lightning quick counter attacking approach.
Following match winning displays from his Paris Saint Germain team mates Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) and Kylian Lottin Mbappe (France) in their respective knock out games, pressure was on Neymar to match their feats.
Although he didn’t quite match their two goal tallies, he netted one and set up Firmino for the Samba Boys’ second.
Featuring in what should be his final World Cup, Mexico’s legendary skipper Rafael Marquez, 39, didn’t set a foot wrong but was replaced at halftime with the teams goalless.
His replacement, Miguel Layun, failed to cope with Neymar’s direct running and was hopelessly out of position as the world’s most expensive player set up Firmino for Brazil’s second goal.
In the end Tite’s Samba Boys, who won the last of their five world titles in 2002, could have won by a bigger margin.
El Tri custodian Guillermo Ochoa made a number of world class saves to deny Neymar, Paulinho and man of the match Willian who was playing out of his skin. Brazil now awaits the winners of the Japan versus Belgium tie.