BRAZILIAN superstar Neymar has been torn to shreds over an ugly moment in his side’s clash against Serbia on Thursday.
‘It’s a disgrace’
Brazil was rocked by the sudden exit of Marcelo less than 10 minutes into its decisive clash against Serbia but showed great resilience to win 2-0 as it finished top of Group E and advanced to the round of 16.
A dejected Marcelo walked the ball over the sideline and indicated to his camp and teammates his day was over. He wiped away tears as he left the field, replaced by Filipe Luis.
Marcelo was seen hobbling along the sideline being helped by medical staff on his way back to the dressing room, suffering from what was reported in some quarters as a back spasm.
Former Chelsea star Pat Nevin told the BBC: “Marcelo going off has just shaken Brazil a little bit because he is a big player and a big personality to have missing.”
The rest of the team stood up to cover for the absence of the Real Madrid star as Neymar constantly threatened while Coutinho and Thiago Silva both had impressive outings. However, not everything Neymar did was so well received.
The PSG star has copped close attention from defenders throughout the tournament and today was no different as he was brought down by a dodgy Serbian challenge in the first half. But according to SBS analyst and former Socceroo Craig Foster, the 26-year-old completely overreacted, as did Gabriel Jesus later in the match.
Foster wants the VAR to intervene so players are punished for simulation.
“The carry-on from Neymar in the first half where he got hit on the sideline — it was an awful tackle, it was yellow card, it could have been red actually — but he tumbled 15 times,” Foster said after full-time. “It’s totally unnecessary.
“And then Jesus got what was one finger on his chin or something and he went down trying to get a red card.”
Fellow SBS analyst David Zdrilic backed his colleague. “When you start going into simulation, into these kinds of, ‘I just brushed against you’ and those kinds of overreacted situations where you are trying to get someone sent off or win a penalty, that should be equally as harsh to the person trying to do it,” Zdrilic said.
“It’s a disgrace.”
SBS host Lucy Zelic added: “They don’t need to do that.”
Neymar has already come under fire for his antics in Russia as social media slammed the superstar for diving against Switzerland.
Jesus may have been working on his acting skills but he still had time to make an impact with the ball. He made a darting run into the box just shy of the half-hour mark and feigned a shot to beat a defender before another Serbian came across in cover to block his effort on goal when he eventually pulled the trigger.
After 35 minutes Brazil took the lead when a lovely aerial ball in behind Serbia’s defence found Paulinho, who toe-poked the bouncing ball over the keeper’s head for a 1-0 advantage.
Serbia came within a whisker of finding an equaliser on the hour mark when a dangerous cross forced a diving one-handed save from Alisson. He parried the ball into the path of Aleksandar Mitrovic who headed towards goal from just a couple of metres out, but the ball hit a Brazilian defender on the goal line and was cleared.
The Serbian striker missed another opportunity to square the ledger when a header from close range went straight into the arms of Alisson and Brazil made Serbia pay when Thiago Silva got on the end of a corner with his head to make it 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining.
Neymar missed out on making it 3-0 when his shot went over the bar 10 minutes later but it didn’t matter as Brazil won the match 2-0 to top the group and advance to the round of 16.