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Brazil 2-0 Mexico: Neymar's early goal, late assist too much for El Tri

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Brazil 2-0 Mexico: Neymar's early goal, late assist too much for El Tri
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Brazil 2-0 Mexico: Neymar's early goal, late assist too much for El Tri

Mexico is out of the FIFA Confederations Cup after a 2-0 loss to host Brazil at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza on Wednesday.

Neymar's 9th-minute goal and second-half stoppage-time assist to Jo helped increase Brazil's unbeaten streak in competitive matches on home soil to 54 matches.

With two losses in two games, El Tri has been eliminated with a game still to play in the group stage, as Italy's 4-3 victory over Japan sealed Mexico's fate and ensured that both Brazil and Italy will emerge from Group A.

Brazil came out on the front foot and applied early pressure, with Fred's layoff pass deep in the Mexico box having to be dealt with by Gerardo Torrado and Marcelo following that up by winning a free kick deep in Mexico territory. Hulk played the free kick short to Marcelo at the top of the area, but he rolled a low shot right at goalkeeper Jesus Corona.

Moments later, Brazil had a goal waved off, as Neymar was offside prior to playing a cross to the far post for Oscar at the doorstep.

Mexico's first chance came in the 6th minute, with Giovani Dos Santos lofting a left-footed shot from 20 yards but right at Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Neymar delivered the opener minutes later to recapture the early momentum, as Maza Rodriguez's attempted header to clear Dani Alves' cross landed for the new Barcelona signing inside the area, and he thumped a left-footed volley past Corona for his second goal of the competition.

"I'm happy to have played well again," Neymar said. "But what was more important was that the team had a good performance. We are improving game after game and we are getting better. This gives us more confidence for the next matches."

Alves nearly caught Corona off his line to make it two with a cheeky chip from a right-side angle outside the box in the 14th minute, but the goalkeeper recovered in time to tip it over the bar. Neymar then almost added a second of his own in the 23rd minute, latching onto a ball, taking a touch to round Hiram Mier and then lacing a shot from the edge of the box just over the target.

Chances were few and far between until halftime from then on, save for a ball that Dos Santos nearly put in the far corner from long range in stoppage time.

Brazil had a second goal waved off not even a minute after the restart, as Thiago Silva's tap-in off of a free kick was ruled offside. Paulinho was a step ahead of the back line when laying a short ball off for the PSG center back off Neymar's set piece.

Hulk then missed a glorious opportunity in the 55th minute after a give-and-go combination with Neymar put him alone inside the area. Hulk could have cut a square ball across the six-yard box to one of two wide open attackers or slotted a ball by Corona, but he fired a left-footed blast wide of the mark instead.

Mexico looked to capitalize on the miscue and find the equalizer, but David Luiz came up with an important sliding intervention to prevent a cross from Andres Guardado from reaching Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez by the far post.

In the 65th minute, and with Dos Santos down injured trailing the play, Brazil looked to strike again, as Paulinho completed a 40-yard run down the center of the field before spraying a pass wide left for Neymar, who struck a low shot that Corona saved.

Mexico's last great chance to equalize came through Guarado, who was found by the left post after a tantalizing cross from substitute Pablo Barrera. Alves came up with a deflection to prevent Guardado's close-range shot from being redirected on goal, though, and Neymar came up with the final blow soon after. The Barcelona-bound star split two defenders, carried into the box, and crossed for an unmarked Jo, who capped off the victory with his second goal of the competition.

"Neymar has the skills and he created problems for the players from Mexico the entire match," Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "He did what we needed him to do to help us break through the Mexican defense."

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