Barcelona’s latest recruit added to his goal in Brazil’s opening victory over Japan with a classy finish after nine minutes, meeting a dropping ball with a thunderous effort that flew just inside the post.
In second-half injury time, the forward then lost two markers with an outrageous piece of skill before teeing up substitute Jo, who finished into an empty net.
As trouble continued in the streets after what has been a turbulent few days in Brazilian society, the country witnessed a sporting victory that, following Italy's win over Japan in the late kick-off, saw them into the last four with the Azzurri.
In a week that has seen Brazilians pour into the streets in their millions to protest against the government and draw attention to the country’s social problems, a spine-tingling national anthem gave way to an electric start from Brazil, with Neymar, Marcelo and Hulk all taking the opportunity to gee up the febrile crowd inside the Estadio Castelao.
Liga-bound Neymar was influential early on as he caused havoc from his position wide on the left as he teed up Paulinho for a shot that was blocked, set up Oscar for a goal that was disallowed for offside and then put Brazil in front after nine minutes with a moment of pure brilliance.
Dani Alves delivered a teasing cross from the right and after Francisco Rodriguez could only head his attempted clearance high into the air, the ball dropped perfectly for the left boot of Neymar as the striker lashed a superb volley just inside the post from 16 yards out.
Brazil pushed forward at every opportunity in a pulsating start, with Alves almost catching Jose Corona out with a Cantona-esque chip that threatened to dip under the bar. However, they remained typically vulnerable at the back with Hiram Mier rifling a low effort just past the far post following a Mexico corner that was defended awfully.
Neymar, though, remained the star of the show, his every touch greeted with a rise in the decibel levels inside the Fortaleza stadium. On 23 minutes he demonstrated his class once again when controlling beautifully with his chest, taking the ball away from Mier with a deft touch and thundering a shot just over the bar.
But a first half which promised so much petered out, with the main incident of note in the closing stages being a heavy blow to David Luiz nose following an accidental collision with Thiago Silva that required two changes of shirt and lengthy treatment as the Brazilian medical staff tried to stem the stream of blood pouring out of the Chelsea defender.
Luiz returned for the second half and again Brazil started quickly with Thiago Silva having a goal rightly disallowed when the offside Hulk touched a wonderful Neymar free-kick square for the Paris Saint-Germain centre-back.
Hulk was involved once again on 55 minutes when Neymar flicked a gorgeous return ball over the top of the defence for the Zenit forward to collect. He had two good options: score at the near post or square for Fred for a tap-in in the centre. But Hulk took option three: snatch at the ball and drive it horribly wide.
Mexico threatened only briefly, and when they did find space to attack the penalty area they found Luiz and Silva in resilient form for Brazil. The Chelsea defender made one particularly impressive intervention to prevent Javier Hernandez from tapping home at the back post.
An otherwise disappointing first half was enlivened in injury time when Neymar produced another bit of magic. Approaching the box from the left, he bided his time, rolling his studs over the ball, before spotting a gap and darting between two players to feed former Everton and Manchester City striker Jo, who swept the ball home for a superb clincher.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Neymar (Brazil) – Settled the game with his fantastic volley after nine minutes and his tricks and imagination ensured he would dominate the highlights reel even before his obscenely good assist.
BRAZIL: Cesar 6, Alves 6, Silva 7, Luiz 7, Marcelo 5, Gustavo 6, Paulinho 6, Oscar 5, Neymar 8, Fred 5, Hulk 5. Subs: Hernandez 6, Moura 6, Jo 7.
MEXICO: Corona 6, Rodriguez 6, Salcido 6, Moreno 5, Flores 6, Torrado 5, Dos Santos 7, Guardado 6, Torres 5, Mier 6, Hernandez 5. Subs: Herrera 5, Barrera 6, Jimenez N/A.