Colombian who broke Neymar and Brazil's hearts retires

World Cup 2018: Is Belgium's golden generation finally about to deliver?

Neymar is fouled an average of 5.75 times per game, 1.75 times more than the most-fouled player at the 2014 World Cup - Arjen Robben.

In the second match, Belgium came from behind to defeat Japan 3-2.

However, in the much-anticipated knockout game against Mexico, and after being overshadowed by El Tri attackers Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela and Javier "Chicharito" Harnandez in the first half, Neymar rose to the occasion when the Selecao needed him the most.

Samara: Neymar inevitably grabbed the headlines and plaudits again after Brazil's 2-0 World Cup win over Mexico on Monday but their real campaign heroes have been elsewhere.

But the title talk has been drowned out in much of the world by a debate over Neymar's play acting. The game was largely uneventful until Neymar sparked into life in the 25th minute to turn Mexican defender Edson Alvarez inside out and dispatch a shot. "Is it wrong to feign, to provoke the players in the last third?"

Brazil are usually thought of as an attacking team but, in fact, they take very few risks, usually parking three players on the halfway line even when they win a corner, and on Monday they allowed Mexico to enjoy 53 per cent of possession. They caused problems for Brazil, too, initially. Most teams would have dropped their heads from being 2-0 down right after half-time, but Belgium kept probing and used the deficit as motivation to get back into the game.

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Friday's quarter-final in Kazan should be another World Cup classic.

"We need players like Neymar", said the former West Germany captain, who won the inaugural Federation Internationale de Football Association world player award in 1991.

The victor of the clash between the Selecao and the Red Devils will face the victor of the quarter-final between Uruguay and France.

But Silva is confident Neymar will emulate the recent feats of his other Paris Saint-Germain clubmates Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe who scored two goals each in their pre-quarterfinals against Portugal and Argentina.

He later fed a cross that led to the team's second goal by Roberto Firmino.

Brazilian soccer great Neymar is taking a lot of flak for one of the less appealing aspects of his style of play: his tendency to "thrash around like a harpooned dolphin", as Piers Morgan puts it, every time he makes contact with an opposing player.

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