Watch: Edinson Cavani progressing to be fit for Uruguay's meeting with France, says Rodrigo Bentancur

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Edinson Cavani is dealing with a calf injury.

Uruguay could be without without Edinson Cavani in the quarter-finals meeting with France, but Rodrigo Bentancur believes the striker is progressing with his calf injury.

The teams will clash on Friday with a spot in the semi-finals up for grabs, which means Uruguay will need all hands on deck.

Cavani limped off in the 2-1 win over Portugal in the last 16 tie, but appears to be on his way to being fit.

“He has to do some rehabilitation exercises and is in a really good mood. This is obviously something that needs to be on a daily basis, but he’s been fine so far,” Bentancur said.

See Bentancur’s full comments and more from Nahitan Nandez in the video below.

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Neymar believes critics claiming he's a diva are trying to 'undermine' him after Brazil's win over Mexico

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Neymar's theatrics were in the spotlight again.

Neymar claimed his critics are trying to “undermine” him after he sizzled in the baking Samara heat to send Brazil into the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Mexico was the Neymar show as the 26-year-old scored the first – his 57th international goal in 89 appearances – before setting up the second for substitute Roberto Firmino late in the match.

But Neymar’s behaviour came under scrutiny again after he was previously accused of play-acting in Russia.

Mexico substitute Miguel Layun trod on Neymar’s ankle in the 73rd minute, escaping a possible red card, but Neymar’s reaction was exaggerated in the extreme as he writhed around on the floor.

But when asked in his post-match press conference if claims that he is a diva were unfair, Neymar said: “Look, I think it’s more of an attempt to undermine me than anything else.

“I don’t care much for criticism, not even from the press because in a way this can influence athletes.

“The last two matches I didn’t talk to the press because there’s so many people talking.

“I just want to play and I help my team-mates, I have to help my team and that’s what I am here for, nothing else.

“I am here to win and I hope I can improve.”

Although Brazil were unbeaten in the group stage and topped their section, Neymar looked short of his best as he worked his way back to full fitness.

Neymar sprained his ankle and fractured his fifth metatarsal playing for Paris Saint-Germain in February and only returned to action just ahead of the World Cup.

But he was back to his best despite 35 degrees Celsius temperatures at the Samara Arena, as Brazil overtook Germany as the World Cup’s highest scorers.

“I knew that I was going to need some time to get back to my normal pace, but today I feel much better,” Neymar said after scoring his second goal of the 2018 World Cup.

“I am really happy for the match, not only individually but also for the whole team.

“I congratulate them on their efforts and we are improving all the time.”

Although he refused to criticise Neymar directly, Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio was unimpressed with the behaviour of the Brazil players and blamed their theatrics for halting his side’s rhythm.

“I think we played quite well but unfortunately – and it’s a shame for football – that we wasted a lot of time because of one single player,” Osorio said.

“I think we lost our style in the second half due to the refereeing, every time he stopped the game.

“There was too much stoppage and my players got more and more tired.”

On the Layun incident, Osorio said: “There was very little contact.

“But there was a four-minute stoppage and this is a very negative example for the world of football and for all the children who are following the game.

“This should be a strong sport, it’s a men’s sport. There shouldn’t be so much acting.

Neymar was asked about Osorio’s comments but the Brazil manager Tite, who was sitting beside him, interrupted to say he would answer the question.

“Is that a loser whining?” Tite said.

“The hierarchy stands, the coach talks to the coach, the athlete talks to the athlete.”

On the Layun incident, he added: “I saw what happened and you can look at the video and say nothing. Just analyse the image (of foul play).”

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Frustrating but fantastic, Brazil star Neymar is our Hero of the Day after dazzling display

Alex Rea 2/07/2018
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Brought to you by Dior Sauvage

Brazil cruised into the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Monday as goals from Neymar and substitute Roberto Firmino gave them a 2-0 victory over Mexico to stay on course for a sixth title.

Neymar was criticised for his early performances in Russia as he eased his way back to fitness after a broken foot bone, but he carved open a tough Mexican defence to score one and assist the other.

Here, we analyse the performance of the Samba star.

STATISTICS

02 07 hero of day Neymar en

30-SECOND REPORT

There’s an irony to Neymar’s play in that he spends most of Brazil’s contests on the deck, yet time and time again rises to produce the knockout blow.

A boxing analogy is misleading, though, because the 26-year-old is an infuriating blend of dazzling ability and irritating frailty. We saw the good, the bad and the sublime against Mexico. He drifted out to the left and cut inside frequently with fancy footwork to great effect, once in the build-up to his opener and then as his shot squeezed through for Firmino to finish.

Of course, the play acting overshadowed his display, but beyond the unnecessary theatrics, he produces pure drama when on the ball.

GOT RIGHT

Selfless – Not often you can say this about Neymar but when he invites his teammates to shoulder some creative burden, it is to Brazil’s benefit. An obvious example was in the opener as his run drew in Mexico defenders before shifting the ball for Willian to cross.

Production – The Paris Saint-Germain forward is starting to elevate himself into the ‘World Cup star’ role and according to Opta he’s now attempted the most shots (23), had most shots on target (12) as well as created the most goalscoring chances for his teammates (16) at this tournament.

GOT WRONG

Play acting – Neymar is chasing a Ballon d’Or but if he continues in this vein, he’ll be in line for an Oscar. It’s difficult to appreciate his brilliance when he negates it with his childish theatrics.

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH53-BRA-MEX

VERDICT

Scored one, assisted another and rolled about. Simple synopsis for the Brazilian but in pure footballing terms, he’s the undoubted hero, even if he does try his absolute best to be the villain as well.

RATING: 8/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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