Brazil virtually sealed a spot into the semifinals of the FIFA Confederations Cup as it defeated Mexico 2-0 in Group A play. In the game, the man that was the difference was Neymar as he scored the first goal and assisted on the second.
Brazil started with the same starting eleven that started the first game of the tournament against Japan while Mexico made two player swaps and key tactical changes. The two player changes were Jorge Torres Nilo and Hiram Mier coming in for Javier Aquino and Jesus Zavala. This allowed for the tactical changes of moving Carlos Salcido into playing a wing back position to play a five man defensive line (three central defenders, two wing backs).
The start of the game saw much of the same for Mexico from that seen in their first game against Italy as Brazil started off fast, pinning Mexico deep in its own defensive end. The result of this was a goal in the ninth minute of play as an attempted header clearance failed, and Neymar latched onto the loose ball to power a shot into the back of the net.
After Brazil’s blistering domination of the first fifteen minutes of play, Mexico slowly found its way into the game and began to control possession. But as has been common as of late, they were unable to create significant scoring chances.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first with Brazil having a blistering start but being unable to score as Hulk missed two clear cut scoring opportunities to add to the lead. Again Mexico were able to settle in and control possession, but in stoppage time, Neymar in a moment of individual brilliance got behind the Mexican defense delivered a great pass to Jo who made it 2-0.
Coming into the Confederations Cup, many were beginning to question and wonder if Neymar was worth the hype and attention he had been receiving. In today’s match against Mexico, Neymar continued to silence critics and doubters of his wonderful talent as his two moments of individual brilliance were the clear reasons why Brazil came out victorious.
After not having scored in the previous nine games with Brazil, Neymar has now scored in both games so far in Confederations Cup play. More importantly, his play has been up to the standard of what is expected from him, and he has done well to honor those who have worn the Brazil number 10 jersey in the past.