As Brazil and Neymar rolled out of Russia after suffering defeat to a star studded Belgium outfit, they will definitely continue to rue what might have been. It was no secret that Neymar was at the centre of the headlines for Brazil in Russia albeit mostly for all the wrong reasons.
An exciting talent that is definitely set to dominate the footballing world once father time robs Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of their powers; the Brazilian is a phenomenal footballer. On his day he can dazzle and impress audiences with his bag of tricks, while winning a football game on his own. That is the talent of Neymar and his ability has never been in doubt.
Unfortunately for fans, he rather spends his time rolling on the ground at the slightest of contact. Indeed is the part where most people get frustrated with him. In Russia his antics of diving and play acting have been met with ridicule and derision. It definitely does not help his cause of wanting to be the best player in the world. Additionally against Belgium however it finally dawned upon many that the repercussions of his acts had finally caught up with him.
Significantly the game against Belgium saw Serbian referee Milorad Mažić, take a stern approach towards Brazil’s star man. He was told to get up a few times by the referee when denied a foul and hitting the deck after being tackled by Belgium’s defenders. However when Vincent Kompany was adjudged to have clearly fouled Gabriel Jesus in the penalty box, the referee did not give the penalty despite consulting VAR.
The only rationale that could be given here was that Neymar’s antics to fool him had obviously influenced his decision in not awarding Brazil the penalty. Alas, that decision would invite controversy as the five time World Cup winners could only score one goal after going down 2-0 to Belgium in the first half.
Desperate and needing another goal, this was the moment Brazil needed Neymar’s genius but he couldn’t deliver and soon their exit from the tournament was confirmed. It was clearly no exaggeration to say that Brazil had become a victim of Neymar’s antics. From being his country’s hope, to leaving them hopeless. That was the theme for Neymar at Russia 2018.