Skip to content

Goal, assist from Neymar give Brazil win, prolong Mexico’s woes

Jun 19, 2013, 5:25 PM EST

FBL-WC2014-CONFED-BRA-MEX

Bookends of brilliance from the Confederations Cup’s most talked-about player defined today’s first match in Brazil, with Neymar’s early goal and late, defense-breaking assist giving the host nation a 2-0 win over Mexico.

Barcelona’s newest star opened the scoring in the ninth minute when a failed clearance from Maza Rodríguez fell on his left foot, the resulting volley blasted past Jose de Jesus Corona for the game’s opening goal. While the ensuing 80 minutes saw Mexico play their hosts on even footing, Neymar ended all doubts in stoppage time, when a dribble that split Hiram Mier and Rodríguez in the left of El Tri’s penalty area allowed him to pick out Jo for an easy, game-clinching goal.

The performance served as a 90-minute crash course in the 21-year-old’s game. His precise finish buried a shot many would have wasted, his unexpected chance met with the calm and precision of a player who already has 22 international goals. While much of the rest of the match saw few returns from a scheme that allowed Neymar free run of Brazil’s left side, he was eventually able to create Brazil’s icing goal, his break down of Mier showing the danger he presents in any one-on-one scenario.

Here’s the first goal:

And the second:

Neymar’s game may not be an all-around one, but in its marvelous spurts of indefensible skill, his talents often prove lethal for opponents. It’s a quality that will give Barcelona a needed second option next season. It also give Brazil a change to transcend their recent, indifferent results and become a legitimate, Spain-threatening dark horse over the next two weeks.

The win leaves Brazil at the top of their Confederations Cup group, two wins in as many games leaving them temporarily three points clear of Italy in Group A. The Italians play Japan in the day’s second game. Should Cesare Prandelli’s team claim at least one point, Mexico will be eliminated from the tournament.

That quick resolution would  a pitter pill for a Mexico team that has improved over fledgling play that’s left them third in the World Cup qualifying group, but unable to turn possession into goals against Brazil, the team’s problems remain the same. For all of their quality — a golden generation of young talent that should see them consistently compete with the world’s most renown soccer nations — Mexico can’t seem to find goal. Arguably more worrisome: Head coach Chepo de la Torre seems out of ideas as to how El Tri can get over their hump.

There were undoubtedly positives to take from today’s game, but against a team still trying to find their identity under Luiz Felipe Scolari, moral victories are insufficient. El Tri, for all their positives, were less effective against the Seleçao than England had been earlier this month, a comparison that highlights how far Mexico has drifted. Whereas over the last two years they’ve claimed a dominant Gold Cup title and an Olympic gold medal — results that had fans wondering if 2014 could give the nation a long-awaited World Cup breakthrough — soon the Seleccíon will left to consider drastic steps to get their team’s ambitions back on track.

Latest Posts
  1. Radamel Falcao wants Manchester United stay, unsure if it will happen

    Dec 17, 2014, 1:50 PM EST

    Can Falcao star for United? AP

    Falcao wants to stay at United. But should the Red Devils splash the cash on El Tigre?

  2. Men in Blazers podcast: Man United’s romp, Arsenal’s form and more

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:56 PM EST

    meninblazers

    Rog and Davo talk Manchester United’s shaming of Liverpool and Arsenal’s return to potency.

  3. American lawyer Michael Garcia resigns as FIFA’s ethics prosecutor

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:06 AM EST

    64th FIFA Congress 64th FIFA Congress

    Garcia walks away from FIFA after his appeal against how his own work on alleged corruption in the World Cup bid process was represented.

  4. Report: New England Revolution, Orlando City battling it out for Robinho

    Dec 17, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    AC Chievo Verona v AC Milan - Serie A Getty Images

    Are two MLS teams fighting it out for the Brazilian winger?

  5. Liverpool’s injured Daniel Sturridge to link up with Boston Red Sox

    Dec 17, 2014, 9:20 AM EST

    Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League Getty Images

    Liverpool’s star man to spend time with medical specialists from the Red Sox.

  6. VIDEO: Jose Fonte slams Southampton after defeat at third-tier Sheffield United

    Dec 17, 2014, 8:38 AM EST

    Swansea City v Southampton - Premier League Getty Images

    Saints have now lost five on the spin. The latest loss was the most embarrassing yet.

  7. Liverpool reportedly chasing Petr Cech, Guillermo Ochoa

    Dec 17, 2014, 7:58 AM EST

    Mexico's goalkeeper Ochoa takes part in a practice session at Azteca stadium in Mexico City AP

    After Mignolet is dropped, Reds are apparently lining up two replacements for January.

  8. Celtic offers free tickets to unemployed supporters for post-Christmas game

    Dec 16, 2014, 10:45 PM EST

    Celtic FC v FC Salzburg - UEFA Europa League Getty Images

    That’s a good look for the Scottish giants during this holiday season.

  9. Over there? Underwear? Can’t sue Cristiano Ronaldo if you can’t find Cristiano Ronaldo

    Dec 16, 2014, 9:52 PM EST

    Morocco Soccer Club World Cup AP

    As easy as Ronaldo serves up passes to teammates, it’s very difficult to serve him papers.

  10. MLS: Mauro Rosales is returning to Vancouver, and Alvas Powell’s a full-time Timber

    Dec 16, 2014, 9:00 PM EST

    Vancouver Whitecaps v FC Dallas Getty Images

    Portland acquired Powell’s rights from Portmore after carrying him on loan last season.

  11. A selection of Thierry Henry’s finest quotes

    Dec 16, 2014, 7:58 PM EST

    Red Bulls Henry celebrates after scoring against Impact during their MLS soccer match in Montreal Reuters

    “The moment I’ve got a ball at my feet, I’m happy.”

  12. Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup: Everyone’s going to Liverpool; Cole back to London?

    Dec 16, 2014, 7:17 PM EST

    Slovakian international Marek Hamsik has been one of Italy's best players this season, scoring five times in as many games during Napoli's 6-0-1 start. (Photo: Getty Images.) Getty Images

    It’s officially the biannual time of year that is silly season in the world of transfer rumors.

  13. Report: GM Garth Lagerwey leaving Real Salt Lake for Seattle

    Dec 16, 2014, 6:09 PM EST

    mlssoccer.com mlssoccer.com

    RSL assistant coach Craig Waibel has been promoted to technical director by the club, as it looks to fill the void left by Lagerwey.

  14. Ronaldo, Isco combine for nifty goal in Real Madrid’s 4-0 Club World Cup win over Cruz Azul (video)

    Dec 16, 2014, 5:38 PM EST

    Morocco Soccer Club World Cup AP

    Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema also scored for Madrid, who waits for the Wednesday winner of Auckland City FC and San Lorenzo.

  15. League Cup roundup: Sheffield United shocks Saints, Chelsea also moves to semifinals

    Dec 16, 2014, 4:48 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-LCUP-DERBY-CHELSEA Getty Images

    The Blues and Blades will be joined by the winners of Wednesday’s quarterfinal games.

  16. CONCACAF announces host cities for 2015 Gold Cup; USMNT to Texas, Boston, KC

    Dec 16, 2014, 3:36 PM EST

    Should Joe Corona and the USMNT's other youngsters get a shot against Mexico? Getty Images

    CONCACAF released the 13 cities for the group and knockout rounds on Tuesday, and here’s the list via MLSSoccer.com.

  17. Tim Howard “accepts” that Brad Friedel did not block his move to Manchester United

    Dec 16, 2014, 3:08 PM EST

    Howard AP

    The whole incident is extremely unfortunate, and takes away from Howard’s interesting telling of his rise to soccer prominence while dealing Tourette Syndrome.

  18. Remembering DaMarcus Beasley’s sensational USMNT career

    Dec 16, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Azerbaijan v United States Getty Images

    Beasley’s phenomenal career for the USA may have flown under the radar, but his longevity is inspirational.

Featured video

Man United thrash Liverpool