Once a critic, Brazil coach Tite now defends Neymar

Heather Diaz
July 5, 2018

"I'm stepping aside so that tomorrow, when I want to to run around in the park with my children, I'll be able to do so".

The world's most expensive player has 11 goals and nine assists in his last 19 games for Brazil. Neymar's theatrics distracted from Brazil's 2-0 win over Mexico that took the five-time champion into the quarterfinals.

Osorio said the incident with Layun halted Mexico's momentum as they chased the game following Neymar's opening goal, and that referee Gianluca Rocchi "favoured Brazil".

The European (and U.S.) press has been largely kind to Osorio during this World Cup campaign, seeing El Tri's performances in Russian Federation as pulsating and gutsy, especially considering that Mexico has no players now at what would could be considered elite clubs.

Thiago Silva is preparing to face a "very strong" Belgium in the quarter-finals and knows Brazil can not become complacent amid their status as World Cup favourites.

"With Lionel Messi gone and Cristiano Ronaldo gone, you could argue that Neymar is the biggest star left in this tournament".

Matthaus was equally critical of Colombia's players during their agonising penalty defeat to England in their round of 16 clash.

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Miguel Layun appeared to push his toe down onto Neymar's ankle, and while it was difficult to determine how hard the pressure was, Neymar writhed around for several minutes.

History shows that the team with the best defence tends to win the trophy.

Brazil has reached that stage at every World Cup since 1994.

Belgium were emphatic in the second half, but right before Chadli's goal, Japan actually had a short spell of dominance.

"We wasted a lot of time because of one single player", he said.

"He's played all four games and hasn't done too badly out of it". Paulinho has had a good season with FC Barcelona, where his ability to break into the box and score key goals was important, but that doesn't make him one of the great passers in the game.

Whether or not his social media antics come back to bite him later, with Belgium facing Brazil on Friday in Kazan, remains to be seen.

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