Willian rejects 'defensive' Brazil claims after shining in Mexico victory

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The Selecao winger praised his team’s organisation after qualifying for the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a win over El Tri on Monday

Brazil star Willian rejected claims that the Selecao were a 'defensive' side, insisting that their strength at the back comes from the balance across coach Tite's line-up. 

After a slow start in Monday's last-16 clash, the Chelsea winger came alive in the second half, playing in Neymar for the opening goal against Mexico. 

El Tri were finally killed off by a late goal from Roberto Firmino, which clinched a quarter-final meeting with Belgium for the unbeaten Brazilians

Goalkeeper Alisson has seen just one goal slip past him so far in Russia, but Willian points to their all-round strength rather than a negative attitude as the principal explanation. 

“Like you said, we played very well. In the defensive situation, we were very solid,” Willian said after the final whistle. 

“We defended very well and when we had the ball we created so many scoring chances.

“We did a good job. Both sides of the game, defensively and offensively, are important. So, we have to have balance, when we don’t have the ball we try to defend. When we do have the ball, we try to do what we know we do well. I think we did a great job today.”

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Willian also won the praises of Brazil assistant coach Sylvinho, who pointed out his sterling work at covering right-back Fagner on a flank that was targeted early on by Mexico on the break. 

"Willian always delivers beautifully. He has a lot to do tactically, he goes box-to-box, he is the defensive connection with Fagner and he also backs up Paulinho sometimes," Sylvinho pointed out. 

"But even then he managed to stand out, in the second half he shined technically. He is delivering how we hoped he would."

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