World Cup: Neymar inspires Brazil as Belgium comeback

Brazil (La Selecao) were comfortable winners in Samara as Mexico’s (El Tri) journey ends after a 2-0 loss. Belgium (Red Devils) also advanced to the quarter-finals after a 3-2 victory over Japan (Blue Samurai). The Belgians will face La Selecao next after coming back from 2-0 down to shatter Blue Samurai hearts in Rostov-On-Don.

The Brazilians were second best inside 20 minutes as El Tri were determined and aggressive from the off. But La Selecao kept its composure, grew as the game went on, and ultimately won deservedly.

Now that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are eliminated, Brazilian offensive leader Neymar Jr’s contribution Monday demonstrated why he’s considered the best player left in the tournament. His second goal of the summer gave his team the lead and his assist in Roberto Firmino’s goal guided La Selecao to the next round.

As for Belgium, manager Roberto Martinez needed a pair of savvy subs to boost the Europeans over the Blue Samurai. The Japanese were happy to be leading 2-0 against one of the best teams left in the tournament. They ultimately had themselves and their inexperience to blame after not being able to see the game through.

The Blue Samurai was punished in literally the last kick of the game as a 94th minute, stoppage time game-winner from substitute Nacer Chadli capped off three unanswered goals. It was cruel on the Japanese after they took advantage of a poor Belgian defense that couldn’t seem to repel.

Fortunately for the Red Devils, their attacking options are good enough to recover. The comeback was an epic form of adversity which Belgium managed to escape with a win despite the dodgy defending.

The defending will be something Martinez will have to correct against a Brazil that is coming off its best match of the tournament.