Pow­ered by star striker Ney­mar Brazil steer into last 16

The Political and Business Daily - - FRONT PAGE - PBD BUREAU/PTI BRASILIA, JUNE 24

P OW­ERED by the ge­nius of star striker Ney­mar and egged on by a roar­ing sea of yel­low, Brazil sailed into the pre-quar­ter­fi­nals with a 4-1 de­mo­li­tion of Cameroon while Mex­ico ham­mered Croa­tia 3-1 to also make the last-16 of the FIFAWorld Cup.

Ney­mar once again proved to be the chief ar­chi­tect of Brazil's vic­tory, scor­ing twice in their cru­cial last Group A fix­ture here.

In do­ing so, the 22-year-old striker de­liv­ered yet an­other re­minder of just how much the hopes of the foot­ball-crazy na­tion de­pends on his young shoul­ders.

Ney­mar struck in the 17th and 34th minute while Fred and sub­sti­tute Fer­nand­inho found the net once each, in the 49th and 84th minute re­spec­tively, set­ting up a last 16 clash with Chile, who fin­ished sec­ond in the Group B af­ter los­ing their last pre­lim­i­nary clash against the Nether­lands.

For Cameroon, Matip had equalised in the 26th minute but that was only for eight min­utes be­fore Brazil again surged ahead.

In Re­cife, a draw was enough for Mex­ico to go through but a 10-minute blitz from 72nd to 82nd minute saw them fire home thrice with their in­spi­ra­tional skip­per Rafael Mar­quez break­ing the dead­lock in the 72nd minute.

An­dres Guardado scored within an­other three min­utes be­fore Javier Her­nan­dez rounded off the tally in the 82nd minute. Ivan Perisic got a con­so­la­tion goal for Croa­tia at the fag end of the match.

Mex­ico will now face the Nether­lands, who topped Group B by re­main­ing un­beaten.

How­ever, the BrazilCameroon clash was the most awaited for the fans here and as the day passed, the red seats at the Es­ta­dio Na­cional turned yel­low with the home team sup­port­ers troop­ing into the sta­dium in huge num­bers.

Con­sid­er­ing the favourites tag with which they had en­tered the tour­na­ment, it was a die or do sit­u­a­tion for the hosts and for a while, when Matip equalised in the 26th minute, it looked like Cameroon might spoil the party.

But that was not to be as Ney­mar re­asserted his supremacy one more time with a fine low shot past Charles Itandje in the Cameroon goal.

Ney­mar's first goal of the match, in what was Brazil's 100th Cup game and this edi­tion's 100th goal, came when he deftly guided the ball into the far cor­ner of the net af­ter be­ing fed by Luiz Gus­tavo's per­fect low cross from the left.

Ney­mar runs past Joel Matip af­ter scor­ing his side's first goal— AP/PTI photo

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