Brazil showed why they are one of the World Cup favourites with a powerful second-half display as Tite’s Selecao qualified for the quarter-finals at the expense of Mexico at the Cosmos Arena in Samara.
Goals from Neymar and Roberto Firmino sealed the deal for Brazil as Mexico were left to rue their inefficient first-half showing to bow out in the last 16.
Mexico arguably started the game off strongest with their high-pressing game really putting pressure on their Brazilian counterparts.
Wingers Carlos Vela and Hirving Lozano caused plenty of problems for the Brazilian full-backs, who looked exposed at the best of times early on.
As early as the second minute, Mexico nearly found a way through the Brazilian rear-guard as Lozano saw his guilt-edged opportunity blocked away by a courageous Brazilian defender.
It was a ferocious start from Juan Carlos Osorio’s side, who looked to seriously threaten the Selecao in a quick-fire attack.
Continuing from their pacey start, Mexico continued their speed and tempo throughout the opening first quarter of the hour as Lozano, Vela and Chicarito all saw half-openings blocked by some frantic Brazilian defending in the penalty area.
After starting slowly and looking in real peril, Brazil went close in the 25th minute as Neymar almost found his way through the staunch Mexican rear-guard, but his effort was well saved by Guillermo Ochoa.
That instigated a brief spell of sustained Brazilian pressure as Tite’s side looked to have finally woken from their early-game slumber.
Brazil went close again soon in the 33rd minute as Gabriel Jesus and Phillipe Coutinho both went close from short range as the Selecao began to up the ante as the first half drew to a close.
The remainder of the half was played out in a rather stop-start fashion as Mexico grew increasingly cynical as the Brazilian’s began to increase the pressure on their Central American counterparts.
After flattering to deceive in a disappointing first-half showing, Brazil started the second half off strong and they soon found themselves get the lead in the 51st minute with a close-range strike.
After combining beautifully with Willian, Neymar saw himself free in the six-yard box before he poked home in a straight-forward finish as Tite’s side grabbed the goal that they deserved after a bright and industrious opening to the second half.
Mexico looked to hit back straight away but they were let down by some inaccurate finishing and poor build up play in the minutes that came after Neymar’s goal.
Just on the hour mark, Paulinho looked to have the goal at his mercy to put the result beyond all doubt, but his well-struck effort was well matched by the alert Ochoa, who was desperate to keep his team in the game as the half progressed.
Brazil continued their electric running and attacking game as Willian went close soon afterwards as Ochoa was once again forced to tip his stinging drive over the bar in a frantic, exhilarating spell of play.
Mexico did look a threat on the break but, in truth, they never really created anything that could’ve had the potential to trouble Allisson in the Brazil goal.
Lozano’s searching ball went out of play as nobody looked to step up and grab that much-needed equaliser for Juan Carlos Osorio’s side.
In tandem with the flow of the game, Brazil had the next big chance as Willian left a host of Mexican defenders in his wake before he laid the ball off to his captain Neymar, who saw his low, curling effort just about go wide of a relieved Ochoa's goal.
With the game petering out, the Selecao put the result beyond all doubt in the 88th minute as an incisive break away goal by Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino sealed the deal for Tite’s side.
Casemiro fed in Neymar who saw his effort deflect off the toes of Ochoa before Firmino was on hand to poke home late on.
All in all, it was a well-deserved victory for Brazil who produced a strong defensive display which underpinned their ability to grind a result out after their early struggles in the game.
Mexico will now head home while Brazil look forward to a quarter final date with either Belgium or Japan on Friday evening.
Brazil: Alisson Becker; Thiago Silva, Jaoa Miranda, Filipe Luis, Fagner Conserva Lemos; Paulinho (Fernandinho, 80), Philippe Coutinho (Roberto Firmino, 86), Casemiro; Willian (Marquinhos, 90), Gabriel Jesus, Neymar.
Subs not used: Geromel, Cassio, Taison, Fred, Renato Augusto, Ederson, Marcelo, Danilo.
Booked: Filipe Luis (42), Casemiro (59).
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa; Edson Alvarez (Jonathan Dos Santos, 55), Hugo Ayala, Carlos Salcedo, Jesus Gallardo; Hector Herrera, Rafael Marquez (Miguel Layun, 46), Andres Guardado; Carlo Vela, Javier Hernandez (Raul Jimenez, 60), Hirving Lozano.
Subs not used: Marco Fabian, J. de Jesus Corona, Erick Gutierrez, Javier Aquino, Giovani Dos Santos, Oribe Peralta, Jesus Corona, Alfredo Talavera.
Booked: Edson Alvarez (38), Hector Herrera (55), Carlos Salcedo (77), Andres Guardado (90).
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy).
Attendance: 41,970 (Official).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Willian (Brazil).