Once a critic, Brazil coach Tite now defends Neymar

Mexico Boss Lambasts Neymar for 'Clowning Around' as PSG Star's Antics Steal the Show

Watch: The best social media memes as fans troll Neymar roll

Neymar had already avoided the fate of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by helping his Brazil team get out of its group.

Japan suffered a devastating loss against Belgium in the knock-out round of the World Cup, after leading the game 2-0 with just 25 minutes remaining in the second half. "This is a very bad example for the world and the world of football".

The player was not sent off in the match after the decision went to VAR and it was ruled that the stamp was not intentional and therefore no punishment would be taken.

And so to Friday when Brazil, which has the joint-best defense at the tournament along with Uruguay, faces a Belgium outfit which has been the most prolific with 12 goals scored. We had the best player in the world, and we had to try and create collective situations that allowed us to really use that player. "In Brazil, as you know, we have a saying.'Envy is a bitch'".

Brazil's Willian and Gabriel Jesus were given special praise by coach Tite and assistant Sylvinho after the 2-0 victory over Mexico secured a quarterfinal place. "Naturally we want to win but we are not expected to and that is an important difference".

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Four of Mexico's second-round eliminations have come against clearly superior teams: twice against Argentina (2006 and 2010), once against Germany (1998) and now Brazil. "I think this broke the style of play". "We have a chance, but it will be quite complicated." he added. We have to defend as well as we can and then cause them pain when we have the ball.

Real Madrid's Casemiro will be missed due to suspension, but boasting arguably the best squad in the tournament, Brazil have a ready made replacement to screen the back four in Fernandinho of Manchester City.

Brazil's Neymar reacts on the sideline after "sustaining" an injury. I need to help my teammates, help my team. "He is an excellent player, one of the five best players in the world", the 57-year-old Matthaeus, who won the 1990 world Cup with West Germany, told reporters.

The appointment of Martinez to lead Belgium's golden generation fresh from being sacked by Everton two years ago was a surprise one. The game was largely uneventful until Neymar sparked into life in the 25th minute to turn Mexican defender Edson Alvarez inside out and dispatch a shot.

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