After Day 18 threw up penalty shootouts, Day 19 had a lot to live up to as attention switched back to the top half of knockout draw, as Brazil and Belgium looked to book their place in Friday’s second Quarter-Final.
Brazil vs Mexico
Brazil saw off Mexico in the Latin America derby with a scrappy 2-0 win with goals from Neymar and Roberto Firmino.
Mexico made the better start with Javier Hernandez having a shot saved by Allison just before colliding with the Brazilian in ninth minute.
Hernandez then missed an opportunity to put Mexico in front seven minutes later, failing to connect with Hirving Lozano’s cross as it rolled across goal.
Come half-time it was still goalless but Brazil swiftly changed that early in second half.
Neymar led a break, running across edge of box before delivering a back pass to Willian who then found space to pass it back across goal for the PSG star to tap home six minutes after the break.
Brazil then dominated and doubled that lead two minutes from time when again on counter attack, Neymar broke down left into box and flicked a shot off Guillermo Ochoa towards an incoming Firmino to wrap up the match.
There was however controversy midway through second half after Miguel Layun accidentally stood on Neymar’s foot as he retrieved the ball.
Neymar then overreacted by rolling around in agony before receiving treatment and Layun was handed a yellow card.
Nevertheless, Brazil still ran out a comfortable victory but Neymar is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Belgium vs Japan
Belgium produced a stunning comeback via a Nacer Chadli late winner to beat Japan 3-2.
After a dire first half, Japan claimed a shock lead after Genki Haraguchi fired a shot past Thibaut Courtois just three minutes after the restart.
They soon extended that lead in the 52nd minute after Takashi Inui curled into right hand corner to give the Samurai Blue a shock two goal lead.
Belgium however hit back 16 minutes later when Jan Vertonghen headed home from a tricky angle on the left.
That goal proved to reignite the Red Devils who got their reward just minutes later when sub, Marouane Fellaini headed in from a Eden Hazard cross to make it 2-2 in 74th minute.
Belgium then could of won it in the 86th minute through Chadli or Lukaku but Eiji Kawashima pulled off a double clearance to deny both players.
With minutes running out, the match looked destined for extra-time till a late Belgium breakaway in fourth minute of stoppage time found Lukaku, who back flicked for Chadli to poke home and complete a shock comeback victory.
Belgium will therefore face Brazil in the last eight on Friday night in Kazan, with the winner going on to meet France or Uruguay in the Semi Finals.