Gorgeous ingenuity by Neymar at very start and very finish gave Brazil the win but could not conceal an otherwise mediocre display by the hosts. A team with a more of a cutting edge than Mexico would have punished them. They'll have to improve if they are to win this tournament, let alone the World Cup next year. Mexico, meanwhile, can pack their bags and concentrate on just getting back here next year.
GOAL! Brazil 2-0 Mexico (Jo 90+3)
That is marvellous by Neymar! With a unique flourish of skill he bamboozled two defenders and then slotted the ball across the face of goal to Jo, who could hardly miss and didn't, donking into the net from sic yards.
After a promising build-up by Mexico, Barrers loses the run of himself and attempts to hit an equaliser from 30 yards, with predictable consequences.
Brazil running the clock down, trying to put the seal on an inglorious victory.
Mexico change: Torrado off; Jimenez on.
Foxy skill by Neymar, who dinks the ball over a defender and then flashes the ball across goal. Paulinho's attempted finish is no match for the build-up.
Brazil substitution: Fred off; Jo on. Are these really the best striker Brazil have got?
Mexico are not going down without a fight. Dos Santos flicks a pass to Barrera, who sends a vicious ball across the face of goal, forcing Brazil to scramble it clear. Guardado sends in the corner but Brazil clear.
The camera alights on a comely lady in the crowd. The BBC commentators say nothing. But a whistling sound is heard in the background. What can it all mean?
Overdue Brazil change: Hulk off; Lucas on.
Salcido sends in an inviting in--swinger, which Hernandez misses completely. David Luiz nods it behind for a corner. Meir meet it at the back post but he was straining too hard to be able to guide his header downwards.
Dani Alves is shown a yellow card for a hand off on Moreno. That gives Mexico a freekick in a dangerous position, wide on the left.
Dos Santos tries to revive the game by embarking on another tricky dribble, launching an attack that concludes with a corner for Mexico. He takes it himself but Paulinho heads it clear at the near post.
Mexico need at least a goal to avoid elimination, and they don't look like getting it. Mind you, Brazil don't look like getting another one either. This match is kind of petering out.
Mexico change: Barrera on; Torres off.
Salcido has a ping from 32 yards. A reasonable effort well held by julio Cesar.
Timely diving punch clear by Corona after a teasing Neymar cross.
After a lovely run by Dos Santos comes to an end, Brazil break forward thanks to a storming run by Paulinho. After a 50-yard dash he releases the ball to Neymar, who tries to curl one into the far post from the right but almost scores at the near post thanks to a deflection. Good save by Corona.
Cornoa hurtles out of his box to clear a clever through-ball towards Neymar.
A trademark wobbly freekick from David Luiz yields a corner. Hulk chugs over to take it. Rodriguez nuts it behind for another. Neymar chugs over to take this one, to delirious cheers from the crowd gathered in that section ... but his delivery is no better than Hulk's.
Brazil substitution: Oscar off; Hernanes on. Good change: Oscar has finally looked burned out after a marathon season, and Hernanes could bring welcome creativity.
Lovely play by Mexico, with an astute by Dos Santos prising the Brazil's defence open. Hernandez peeled off towards the back post in anticipation of a cross ... but David Luiz read it and cut it out well.
Mexican substitution: Herrera on; Flores off.
The Brazilian burst continues, as Neymar surges down into the box and scuffs a shot narrowly wide.
Oh Hulk! After an able run down the lefet, he slipped the ball to Fred, who lofted it over the defence and back to him. The keeper charged out ... and Hulk fired into the sidenetting.
Brazil seem to play in bursts. They can be brilliant for five minutes and then ease off for the next 10, ceding the initiative to their opponents. When they meet better opposition than this, they could be in trouble. Certainly Italy and Spain have looked better than them in this tournament so far.
Neymar slips the ball wide to Hulk, who hoists a cross straight into the keeper's arms.
Neymar sends an in-swinging freekick to the edge of the six-yard area , where it's met by a Brazilian head and bops down for Thiago Silva to slot into the net from close range. But the goal is chalked off for offside.
We have resumption. No personnel changes yet.
Brazil? Meh ...
"Other than a sumptuous goal by Neymar, not that impressed by Brazil when against more physical opposition," sniffs Luka Garratt. "Just like their WC infrastructure, this young Brazil team is very much a work in progress. Hulk very over-rated, Fred, Paulinho and Gustavo anonymous. Oscar unusually quiet. Back 4 talented but unpredictable defensively." When Paulinho and Gustavo don't break up play, any justification for not picking Fernandinho becomes even more dubious.
"Gooool works best as the orgasmic culmination of frenetic commentary in the lead-up to a goal, as exemplified by populist wordsmiths who comment on domestic league games in Argentina," blurts Pablo R in response to Vic B [34 mins]. "In other words, gooool works, but only in the context of appropriately poetic and energetic commentary. ESPN’s Mexican commentators are much like those in my native Colombia, whose use of gooool is mechanical and uninformed. This is why many people mute their TVs and tune into radio commentary, which descriptive enough to justify the gooools when they come. In the early days of Fox Soccer Channel, the English-language coverage did something even worse, which was replace the 'goooolll' with a very nasal 'yyyyeeeessss'. I thank God every day that those days are over."
-Pablo R. from NYC
After a brilliant start, Brazil have faded. Bring on Lucas Moura!
More patient Mexican passing around the area brings another foul from Brazil, this time by Neymar, and another chance to put a cross into the area. But no, Dos Santos elects to shoot from a preposterous angle and it droops over the bar. A more clinical team that Mexico would have punished Brazil's untidiness by now.
Thiago Silva booked for clattering into Hernandez at the edge of the area. Brazil have become very sloppy in the last 10 minutes or so. Dos santos curls the freekick in from the left ... and David Luiz, having just returned to the fray, hoofs clear.
Webb has ordered David Luiz back off the pitch to get his nose properly cleaned up: blood is streaming from it.
David Luiz is back, but Mexico are still applying pressure. Gustavo concedes a freekick to the left of the box, offering Calcido a chance to cross. HE does jsut that ... but it's a shoddy delivery and Brazil clear easily. They could even have launched a cutting counter-attack but Hulk botched a pass. "Of course Howard Webb likes Brazilians," exclaims Paul Fox. "They speak Yorkshire. Imagine saying this in Sheffield- it could pass for local patois. "Neymar Dante Rever. Thiago Silva Hulk Jadson"
David Luiz is having some tissue stuffed up his nose, and getting a warning that they won't stop until he gets back onto the pitch. And Brazil need him there, as Dos Santos wriggles his way down the right and into the box before digging out a decent cross, which Thiago Silva heads clear.
David Luiz is down injured after nutting the back of a team-mate's head as he cleared a cross. "ESPN has decided to go with Mexican commentators for the Mexico games," notes Vic B. "They're doing a pretty good job, they're knowledgeable and their command of English is pretty good. But why, oh why, do they and every other Latin commentator insist on that gooooooooooooool thing every time a goal is scored? For me, that was funny the first time I heard it, amusing the next and then it just started to get annoying. And predictable as the weather report here in Southern California. Any Spanish or South or Central American people out that there can tell me why this does not get old after a while?" I still think it's preferable to the habit of many English commentators to go to the other extreme by deflating the joy of a scored goal by immediately drowning the emotion with statistics, such as "1-0! And that's his ninth goals in his last 28 games, which puts him 27th in the all-time list for this team."
Mexico looked in danger of being obliterated in the early stages but, to their credit, since falling behind they have restricted Brazil to few openings and are growing as a threat themselves. They've shown they can knock the ball about with menace. The big question, however, is whether they can finish: their inability to score often enough is the main reason they are struggling to reach the next World Cup.
Brazil have never lost a game with Howard Webb as referee (thanks for that datum, Fernando Duarte) ... and the Yorkshireman's popularity down that way grows even farther as he mistakenly gives the home team a goal kick after Giovanni Dos Santos won a corner.
Freekick to Brazil, about 30 yards out. Hulk and Neymar stand over it ... and the latter dinks it into the area, where it's put behind for a corner.
The thinking is that Scolari prefers Hulk to the wonderful Lucas Moura because the beefcake offers more solidity going backwards. I'm not sure that's true, and am even more doubtful that any slight defensive superiority by Hulk outweighs the huge attacking plus that Lucas offers. He's irresistible going forward. Meanwhile, Neymar almost adds a seconds, hurtling to the edge of the Mexican box before blasting fractionally over the bar.
Paulinho clears the corner and gets an immediate counter-attack going, which ends when Guardado trips him, earning a righteous booking.
Dos Santos curls a freeklck in from the right. Thiago Silva for once makes an iffy clearance, enabling Mexico to keep the pressure on. Eventually they win a corner.
Oooh! Fine play by Mexico, almost rewarded with a goal. Despite being under the cosh for most of the match so far, the visitors have shown commendable method and composure when they've got the ball and they've just pieced together a good move, Marcelo looked to have stifled the danger after he intercepted a cross from the right but Mier pinched the ball back off him and fired a low shot inches wide from 16 yards.
A wonderful chip by Dani Alves towards the top corner from the edge of the area. He took the keeper by surprise - indeed, it was so audacious that he took everyone by surprise - but Corona did very well to backtrack and tip it over the bar.
Salcido, intoxicated by Naymar's demonstration of slick shooting, gets to thinking that he could do the same from 40 yards. He is quickly disabused of the notion. Sensibly, the TV show another replay of Neymar's goal instead. It really was an exquisite strike. Shades of Craig Gardner.
GOAL! Brazil 1-0 Mexico (Neymar 9)
A superb strike by the superstar! Hulk and Dani Alves combined well down the right before the latter crossed. It was headed out to the edge of the area, where Neymar dispatched a sumptuous volley into the net! Daniel Stauss looks like he's going to get his wish: "As an American, I cannot help but gloat over Mexico's struggles in the Hexagonal." gloats Daniel Stauss, failign to convicne us that he actually tried to restrain himself. "Three straight goalless draws at the Azteca? Back in February, I'd have bet all the money in my pockets against that happening. The only thing in Mexico's favor for WC qualification is that Honduras might be on the verge of imploding. This is a Mexican side in trouble, and I look forward to Brazil stomping them silly as a matter of course."
An impressive response from Mexico, who have not crumbled in the cauldron. Guardado sends in a decent bobbling shot from 25 yards. Julio Cesar holds it with difficulty.
Mexico are on the rack but are reprieved when a (legitimate) offside flag rules out a goal by Oscar. A series of blocks by the Mexican defenders had just about kept Brazil at bay prior to that.
There may be teargas and loathing outside the stadium but there's an unbelievably giddy atmosphere inside and the home players are revelling in it, with Marcelo and Neymar already urging fans to crank up the volume even higher, as if that's possible. And Marcelo almost gave them something to go truly bonkers about when a freekick was rolled to him and he cracked a fierce low shot at goal from 20 yards. Well held by the keeper.
Brazil kick off but lose possession within seconds. "I'm sorry is the Jo in the Brazil bench that Jo?" gaps Eamonn Maloney. It sure is: and since you don't appear to have been paying attention, let me tell you that he scored a lovely goal in the 3-0 win against Japan.
The teams amble out onto the green sward and take their places for the national anthems. Are the Brazilian players going to double as the band?
I didn't see what instrument he was playing but it was probably the ukulele or chunky bass. All these reports linking him with moves this summer to PSG, Barcelona, Real, etc are very disturbing: with Luis Suarez seemingly on the way out, and Gareth Bale possibly following, the Premier League can't afford to lose David Luiz too. The purported best league in the world is already short of funsters so we can't be losing the likes of that trio.
The Brazil team arrived at the stadium all playing musical instruments, with Neymar pulling a mean tambourine solo. Expect the Byrds to pitch up and try to upstage him (a cultural reference for all you young hipsters there).
Around the match
In fairness to the BBC, they are not ignoring the protests. Their commentator, Guy Mowbray, is on the air now telling us that some 30,000 demonstrators are around the stadium and things have just turned ugly, with heavy-handed police firing rubber bullets. There appears to be nothing going in the stadium, or the cameramen are ignoring it to pursue their preferred habit of picking out pretty women.
The "festival of champions" continues, in a decidedly unfestive atmosphere, with hundreds of thousands of Brazilians taking to the streets to protest against government misrule, financial chicanery and police brutality, while Sepp Blatter tells them to pipe down and quit ruining his appetite with their spoilsport bleating. So in deference to King Blatter, let's pretend real life doesn't matter and just wallow in the spectacle of celebrity footballers going through their paces in the prestigious Confederations Cup.
It's Brazil v Mexico! And the latter are a bit of a bogey team to the samba boys, having beaten them in their last two meetings in this mighty competition. They could do with another victory here, or at least a draw, otherwise they'll be on their bike home. But they should probably have the saddle cream on standby because it's hard do see anything other than a Brazilian win here given how well Scolari's team seems to be coming together. Scolari has named the same starting XI for the fourth match in a row.
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Luiz, Marcelo,
Gustavo, Paulinho, Hulk, Oscar, Neymar, Fred.
Subs: Jefferson, Fernando, Lucas Moura, Hernanes, Dante, Filipe Luis, Jean, Rever, Bernard, Jo, Jadson, Cavalieri.
Mexico: Corona, Rodriguez, Salcido, Moreno, Torres, Mier,
Flores, Torrado, Guardado, Giovani, Hernandez.
Subs: Ochoa, Reyes, Molina, Barrera, Reyna, De Nigris, Aquino, Meza, Herrera, Zavala, Jimenez, Talavera.
Referee: Howard Webb (England)