File: Brazil's forward Neymar celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Mexico at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 2, 2018.
SAMARA - Brazil superstar Neymar brushed off his critics after firing the five-time World Cup winners to victory over Mexico on Monday and into a quarter-final showdown with Belgium.
Neymar scored one goal and created another as his increasingly impressive Brazil side overpowered the Mexicans 2-0 in sweltering conditions.
But Neymar&39;s sparkling performance was tarnished by yet another example of his tendency to overreact to seemingly innocuous challenges.
The latest chapter in a bulging catalogue of histrionic behaviour came in the second half, when Mexico midfielder Miguel Layun appeared to step on his ankle as he lay prone.
Neymar writhed around and convulsed as if he had received an electric shock.
File: Neymar of Brazil celebrates after the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and Mexico in Samara, Russia, 02 July 2018. Credit: backpagepix
"I think it&39;s a shame for football," Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio lamented afterwards, saying Neymar&39;s antics had wasted precious time.
"We wasted a lot of time because of one single player ... we lost our style in the second half, because of the referee.
"This is a very bad example for the world and the world of football."
As social media platforms exploded with fans angrily accusing Neymar of cheating, former England striker Alan Shearer described the Paris Saint-Germain star as "absolutely pathetic."
"There is no doubting the ability of him. He is a magnificent player," said Shearer, who is working in Russia for Britain&39;s BBC.
"But it really is pathetic when he is rolling around as if he is in agony."
Yet Neymar shrugged off the criticism after his man-of-the-match performance, claiming it was motivated to "undermine me."
"I don&39;t care much for criticism, or praise, because this can influence your attitude," he said.
"In the last two matches I didn&39;t talk to the press because I don&39;t want to. I just have to play, help my teammates, help my team."
With only two goals, Neymar is lagging well behind England star Harry Kane&39;s tournament-leading tally of five goals.
But Silva is hoping Neymar emulates the recent feats of other Paris Saint-Germain clubmates Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe on his way to taking Brazil further.
"It&39;s true, I said this before this match," added Silva. "I hope he listens to me in the quarter-finals."
Summarizing Neymar at the World Cup... pic.twitter.com/ovG7eyTF2J— 90min (@90min_Football) July 3, 2018
Neymar was incredible last night pic.twitter.com/gXcPnobaAV— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) July 3, 2018