Ronaldo defends Neymar against play-acting claims

Brazil's defender Miranda Marcelo and Neymar take part in a training session on the eve of their 2018 World Cup round of 16 match against Mexico

Brazil's defender Miranda Marcelo and Neymar take part in a training session on the eve of their 2018 World Cup round of 16 match against Mexico

Matthaus was the lynchpin of the German side that beat England in a shoot-out in the semi-finals of Italia 90, one of a record-equalling five World Cups he played in.

Tite hadn't been the first manager to criticize Neymar in Brazil.

Neymar turned in his best performance of the tournament so far against Mexico on Monday, scoring one goal and setting up the other in their 2-0 win. Of the eight interviews he has given in Russian Federation, he defended Neymar in six of them, even when he wasn't specifically asked about the forward. They do not play kick and rush.

It is the kind of record that the Italians, the old defensive masters who are conspicuous by their absence in Russian Federation, would have been proud of.

While Brazil fans were celebrating wildly, the El Tri fans were egging their players to come back to the game. This one though, seems to be the charm, as he now looks like the man Brazil need to lift the trophy.

After a decade of duopoly, the FIFA-run vote to crown soccer's best player finally seems open to third parties after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo left the World Cup early.

"In such a short tournament, we want balance to be what characterises us, and that does not make us a defensive team". "And they learned to shoot penalties!" And it came back to me watching Colombia how he acted and provoked.




Then Roberto Firmino netted the second goal closer to full-time, securing a win. "But always emphasizing that the defensive part begins with the attackers".

The European (and U.S.) press has been largely kind to Osorio during this World Cup campaign, seeing El Tri's performances in Russian Federation as pulsating and gutsy, especially considering that Mexico has no players now at what would could be considered elite clubs.

- Belgium captain Eden Hazard admits memories of his squad's shock Euro 2016 defeat to Wales haunted him when they were down against Japan.

"But it's a dream match for our players, they were born to play in a match like this".

"I think that in all competitions Brazil is the favourite, but we know that's not enough".

"I do not know how to stop Neymar - he is very unpredictable", Meunier admitted after setting up the late victor in a thrilling 3-2 round-of-16 victory against Japan in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.

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