Neymar Had His Ankle Stepped On, Then Stepped on Mexico's Throat
- Author: Julie Sanders Jul 04, 2018,
Jul 04, 2018, 0:10
And neither is Brazil.
Neymar's pain tolerance has been criticized and questioned at times, but nobody has taken more bruising in Russian Federation than he has.
Against Mexico, it took some time for Brazil to find their rhythm, like it has been the team's usual pattern in the tournament.
"They stepped on me, that wasn't fair". They have so, so, so many exciting players, but have thus far failed to find anything like top gear at the World Cup.
Willian did damage thanks to surging runs that put a spirited Mexico side on the back foot but it was Neymar's creativity that brought goals.
Mexico's World Cup is over, ending in a 2-0 loss to Brazil on a sultry Monday evening at Cosmos Arena.
Neymar then set up the second in the closing minutes by beating the Mexico offside trap and flicking the ball goalwards before substitute Roberto Firmino tapped home from close range.
The Mexico defender appeared to stand on the Brazil star's ankle when he was already down on the sideline, causing him to roll around in agony.
Given his contribution, Neymar should have garnered only positive headlines, but he was the centre of attention for the wrong reasons too after overreacting to a challenge from Miguel Layun in the closing stages.
The position of Layun's boot was not clear on TV replays and Neymar was slated for his histrionics.
And asked about the motivation of his critics in the face of his theatrics following the numerous fouls, Neymar said: "Look, I think it's more of an attempt to undermine me than anything else". Brazil has reached that stage at every World Cup since 1994.
But while the Mexicans lost on the pitch, they certainly won on social media.
However, he has faced accusations of diving at this year's World Cup. Germany, the 2014 champions, were in the group as well, but finished last.
This is a testament to Brazil's defence who are often subjected to accusations they are rarely tested and once they are they won't be able to cope.
Neymar's brilliance didn't stop there. It was a performance that illustrated coach Tite's influence on this Brazil team.
While a third summarised the PSG player's antics very succinctly. "It's not a sin".
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio did all he could to control the 26-year-old as his right-back Edson Alvarez back was given a first-half education, matching up against the world's most expensive player.
"I'm embarrassed for Neymar", said former England striker Dion Dublin on BBC Radio 5 live.