Revolution

World Cup Round of 16: Brazil, Belgium advance with mighty efforts

(Jimmy Bolcina / Photonews via Getty Images)

Couldn't keep up with Monday's Round of 16 action in Russia? Don't worry, BostonSportsJournal.com has you covered with all the highlights in quickie form, complete with BSJ insight and analysis.

FOUR THOUGHTS FROM MONDAY'S ACTION

Neymar, Brazil eliminate Mexico, 2-0: And so it ends for Mexico -- even though it really didn't have to, especially if El Tri capitalized on its early possession. Hesitation in the attacking third, though, gave Brazil time to close down to keep Alisson safe. The first 30 minutes was end to end, with Memo Ochoa making solid saves against the Selecao; the last quarter hour of the first half saw Brazil gain a larger foothold in the match. But Brazil broke the deadlock in the 51st minute as Willian raced around the wing and left-footed it across the face of goal ahead of Ochoa, and Neymar slid it into the net. Yet while Mexico tried to equalize -- and while Neymar over-sold a light step on his ankle -- it couldn't put things together. Neymar crossed to Roberto Firmino, and he pounded it in to cap it off in the 88th minute. Mexico is out at the Round of 16 for the seventh straight time, el quinto pardito -- the fifth game -- still elusive.

Belgium with the comeback of the tourney: Second halves don't get much nervier than that, even for neutrals. Japan had hung in defensively to thwart Romelu Lukaku, but in the 48th minute, it was the Samurai Blue that got us started as midfielder Genki Haraguchi, on a deep volley, slotted home and beat Thibalt Cortois to jump ahead, a goal to nil. That opened things up: Eden Hazard came right back and made the termites scurry with his woodwork-shaker. Four minutes later, Japan made it 2-nil as Shinji Kagawa had fantastic footwork at the top of the box, and a backheel to Takashi Inui, whose shot had NO ROTATION, but it had enough pace to beat Cortois. But in the 69th minute, it was Jan Vertonghen with a volleyed header that somehow, someway, got into the net, pulling the Red Devils to within a goal, 2-1. Four minutes later, it was Hazard crossing high to Maroaune Fellaini, who simply rose and nodded it in to pull the match to level terms. Then, with Japan still coming deep into second-half stoppage time, Cortois used incredible distribution to begin an absolutely clinical counterattack that ended with Chadli's sliding and scoring on the cross to win it -- with the last kick in the match.

Is Brazil the only "real team" left?: