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Talking Points: Are Thiago Silva and Joao Miranda the best centre-back partnership at the World Cup?

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Neymar and Roberto Firmino got among the goals for the Samba Boys.

The Samba Boys saw off an early surge by Mexico as goals from Neymar and Roberto Firmino safely saw them go through to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The Brazilians took some time to get into the game and saw off a very dangerous Mexican attacking lineup but Joao Miranda and Thiago Silva put in a good shift which saw them win the game 2-0.

Mexico looked pretty lively early on in the match, but their lack of finishing and being unable to find the final pass cost them the game. Guillermo Ochoa was in top form, but his heroics alone were not enough to help the Mexicans as they bowed out of the tournament with their heads held high.

Watch: Brazil 2-0 Mexico highlights



1. Guillermo Ochoa is a national treasure

There aren’t many keepers in this world who are capable of being called the Man of the Match, even though they end up on the losing side. Ochoa is one such keeper. His reactions were on point and if not for him, Mexico would not have made it this far into the tournament and would’ve definitely conceded more than two goals in this fixture.

He made eight saves today and marshalled his defence quite well. His presence is a huge strength for this side and with his contract with Standard Liege having just a year left, one can expect him to move to the big European leagues.

2. Brazil are a fiercely attacking side

The front three of Willian, Gabriel Jesus and Neymar is the most explosive attacking lineup this World Cup has to offer. The way the three linked up today was just a small showing of how deadly the Brazilian attack can be.

Willian put in a stellar shift and helped in creating the first goal which Neymar calmly put into the back of the net. The Brazilian attack had 20 shots in total and had 10 on target. The danger is never over for Brazil’s opponents as this side has players who have a really long range and can score from anywhere.

3. Mexico can use this World Cup’s performance and improve

Mexico were one of the most exciting teams to watch in this World Cup. Juan Carlos Osorio’s men have an almost perfect counter-attacking model that’s been instilled in the side. The side relies heavily on their attack to offset the average defence that they have.

If they can be a bit more clinical and find the extra man or the final pass in their attacking possession, they will produce a lot more and score a lot more goals. Mexico gave the world one of the greatest games ever seen and it was their inspiring performance against the defending champions which saw them fall 1-0 to this young Mexico. With age and talent at hand, the team can only improve from this outing.


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4. Are Thiago Silva and Joao Miranda the best centre-back partnership at this World Cup?

The way Brazil attack with numbers on the ball, without the likes of Miranda and Silva, the side would be susceptible to a lot of goals and counter-attacks. The way the two defenders position themselves during these counters minimizes the risk and gives the team time to get back to a defensive position and recover well.

Brazil have conceded just one goal in this tournament so far and the centre-back pairing have been responsible for most of that.

5. It is Neymar’s playground

The trickster attracts so much attention towards him and teams that play against Brazil, usually end up doubling up on Neymar. This causes an overload on one side and if Neymar is able to spot an open man and pick the pass, the defending side is left to the mercy of the Brazilian attack.

This has happened so often in this tournament and today, as the first goal saw Neymar’s backheel take two defenders out of play and render them completely useless. Neymar is the man the team is built around and a good game from him directly reflects on Brazil’s performance on the day.

Published: Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:46 PM IST

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