Neymar barged his way into the World Cup limelight with a goal and an assist but it was histrionics that again became the biggest talking point as Brazil roared into the quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Mexico on Monday.
The Paris-Saint Germain striker has become a synonym for petulance and he gave an example of why with 72 minutes gone.
Neymar had been fouled and was on the ground with the ball between his feet in front of the technical area.
Mexican Miguel Layun came to take the ball and sneakily put his toe on Neymar’s ankle.
Neymar yelped in pain and writhed around on the ground, even though it appeared obvious that Layun, whose heel was on the ground, could not have put any real weight on his opponent.
The position of Layun’s boot was not clear on TV replays and Neymar was lampooned for his histrionics.
“He”s wriggling around as if a crocodile has bitten him,” BBC commentator Conor McNamara said. “It’s as if he has lost a limb.”
Neymar's playacting and diving have made him a figure of mockery, especially on social media. Take a look at some of the best tweets, memes and jokes on Neymar's histrionics.
— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) July 3, 2018
Fair play to Neymar. Trying to win an Oscar and a World Cup in the same year isn't easy, but he's definitely giving it a go... pic.twitter.com/rqZRgkBXte
— talkingbaws.com (@talkingbawscom) July 2, 2018
— Pie Sports Booze 🔞 (@piesportsbooze) July 2, 2018
— Rodriguez 🇲🇽🇺🇸 (@RRWWE) July 2, 2018
— $AINTJO$E (@saintxjose) July 2, 2018
— PAISA TWEETS🇲🇽🇻🇪🇭🇳🇬🇹🇨🇱🇸🇻🇨🇴🇪🇨🇳🇮 (@PaisaTweets_) July 2, 2018
Neymar’s habit of constantly hitting the deck irked the Mexico coach. “Unfortunately, and it is a shame for football, we wasted a lot of time because of one player,” Juan Carlos Osorio said after the match.
“It is a shame for all the people watching, all the children watching... There shouldn’t be acting. I think this had an impact on our pace and style.”
Brazil coach Tite was unsurprisingly supportive of Neymar, dismissing accusations of playacting, while preferring to talk about his improving side, who seem to be finding their rhythm after a third successive 2-0 victory.
“The team still has to grow,” he said. “I wanted to repeat the standard of the last match and grow and that happened.”
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 03, 2018 19:11:30 IST