In yet another World Cup shocker, Switzerland held Brazil to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, but the biggest scare for every supporter of the South American team was Neymar’s health.
Neymar was fouled 10 times by Swiss defenders who blatantly ignored the PSG star’s recent injuries and the widely publicized physical treatments he received to stay fit for the 2018 World Cup.
In their pre-match conference, the duo of Vladimir Petkovic and Stephan Lichtsteiner expressed fear that Neymar would be unstoppable, yet, they found a way to cut him down with group marking.
Valon Behrami got a first kiss on the Brazil playmaker, then Granit Xhaka followed up with an attempt to strip him of the yellow jersey. Lichtsteiner also clawed at Neymar’s face in desperate attempt to grab his shirt.
While football analysts see nothing wrong in the defenders’ effort to ward off threats from a skilful individual player like Neymar, their recurring body contacts increased to a ridiculous level by the second half.
The officiating referee Cesar Ramos was slammed for failing to apply proper punishments against Swiss defenders at Rostov Arena after images from the cameras showed proofs of stud-holes on Neymar’s socks.
Except Alan Shearer, who was fouled 11 times, against Tunisia at France 1998, no other player has had such experience at the World Cup until last Sunday. Luckily for Brazil, their star player sustained no serious injuries.
While Neymar called on World Cup referees to improve on their officiating, with claims that Brazil player Miranda was fouled as Switzerland grabbed an equalizer, Tite, coach of the Selecao, says the goal should have been ruled out.
“I believe it was a foul,” the Brazil coach told reporters. “It is better understood when you see the moment on replay…FIFA had four officials to rectify such controversial goals. They have their jobs to do so I am not supposed to talk about it.”
He continued, “The match should have been a win. We didn’t deserve a draw but there’s room for improvement…”
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“I was hit and it was aching,” Neymar said of the vicious attacks.
“It’s nothing to worry about…The pain gets stronger when your body cools off after the game but that’s OK.”