Brazil advance to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Mexico
Another World Cup another round of 16 defeat most Mexican fans would say today as they loss to Brazil 2-0 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Round of 16. Mexico held their ground in the first half, especially in the first 20 minutes of the game. They were pressing and creating chances and not giving Brazil freedom to do want they wanted to do, but that would all go away after 20 minutes as Brazil slowly took over. For the rest of the game Brazil were the more dominate team when it came to creating chances, something they have been doing throughout the tournament but just cannot find their shooting form as of yet. Neymar would put Brazil into the lead in the 51st through a tap in from Willian’s low driven cross. Mexico went put everything they had forward in the last 15 minutes of the game in search for an equalizer to send it to extra time. The Brazilians took advantage of Mexico sending more players forward by scoring off a counter attack, led by Neymar, in the 88th minute. Neymar tried to slip it right through the Mexican goalie Ochoa but Ochoa got a touch to it and it deflected right to Roberto Firmino’s feet which gave him a wide open goal to finish the chance and give Brazil the 2-0 win over Mexico. The loss resulted in this being Mexico’s seventh straight round of 16 exit at a World Cup, streak dating back to 1994, the most out of any nation in World Cup history. Brazil was too talented and strong for this Mexican side and many expected for Brazil to win this game. Mexico had the chance to avoid Brazil in the round of 16 had they avoided defeat against Sweden in their last group stage game; had they avoided defeat they would have faced Switzerland instead of Brazil. Brazil advance to the quarterfinals where they will face the winner of the Belgium-Japan game.
Belgium recovers from a two goal deficit to beat Japan and advance to the quarterfinals
Belgium look to get back to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, where they were eliminated four years ago, but have to face Asia’s only remaining side at the tournament Japan in order to get back there. First half of this game was a dull fest; nothing much happened and was a half of soccer to forget. The second half is where this game starts coming to life. Japan score three minutes into the second half from a miss touch from Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen which led to a lovely strike from Genki Haraguchi to put Japan into the lead. Japan would quickly double their lead in the 52nd minute when Takashi Inui’s shot from outside the box goes in. It looked like Japan’s surprise run at the World Cup was set to continue but Belgium’s golden generation would have something to say about that. In the 69th minute Vertonghen would make up for his mistake by scoring one of the most unique headers I have ever seen; it looks like Vertonghen wanted to head to ball back into the box but the ball ended up in the back of the net luckily for Belgium. Belgium would tie the game at 2-2 in the 74th minute when Eden Hazard whipped a ball into the goalkeeper’s five yard box and Marouane Fellaini smashes it in with his head. Then in the 94th minute, off a Japanese corner, Belgium ran a counter attack to perfection. The counter attack was led by Kevin De Bruyne, who picked up the ball near his own penalty box, ran the ball to the half way line then giving it up to Thomas Meunier who would put in a low cross into the box for Lukaku, who then lets the ball go behind him to Nacer Chadli who now has a wide open goal as a result of Lukaku’s unselfishness. Chadli then calmly scores the game winning goal and gives Belgium the dramatic come from behind 3-2 victory. Belgium now faces five time world champions Brazil in the quarterfinals in Kazan on July 6th at 2pm ET.
Dino Pavleka: @dino_ATL
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