The much-anticipated debut of Neymar at the Russia World Cup turned out to be a disappointment on Sunday as the Brazil star failed to impress in Brazil’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland.
This may have been something to do with the Swiss tactic of roughing up the 26-year old every time he got the ball as the PSG striker was fouled 10 times during the match.
No single player has been fouled more in a World Cup match since Alan Shearer against Tunisia in France 1998. In that game the former Newcastle United hitman was fouled 11 times.
Three Swiss players were booked for fouling the Brazil number 10.
And TV cameras appeared to show the extent of the treatment he received when they picked up several holes in his socks apparently caused by Swiss studs.
— Chad Klate (@CKlatey) June 17, 2018
Neymar became more and more frustrated as the game went on, appealing to the referee each time a Swiss defender tackled him.
Then to add insult to injury, the Swiss equaliser was tinged with controversy after Steven Zuber appeared to push Brazil’s Miranda before heading in from close range.
Brazil coach Tite was not happy.
“The Miranda moment was very clear,” he said. “It’s a very clear play… You cannot discuss. You have to be fair. I cannot talk about something that was so obvious. There was a foul.
“I will also say this – Miranda said to me: ‘Well, when he pushed me, I should have fallen over,’ but I said: ‘No, absolutely not. Don’t simulate anything. Don’t draw a foul otherwise it will look like you are trying to do so.’”
Fan opinion on Neymar’s performance was as usual, divided.
Switzerland defence is Incredible 👌👏 Neymar didn't play today… It fell apart for brazil
— Rouge (@Rouge_Rapper) June 17, 2018
— Kadiri P (@kadp17_) June 17, 2018
Watching Neymar dive around and scream when he’s hardly been touched is just embarrassing…
— Davies (@TomDavieslfc) June 17, 2018
The only way to stop neymar is fouling him. 10 out of the 19 fouls were on neymar
— Brandon (@Brandon_Basniak) June 17, 2018
All three of Switzerland bookings so far (Lichtsteiner, Schar, Behrami) come from fouls on Neymar
— Rik Sharma (@riksharma_) June 17, 2018
Neymar looking at the ref like please help! pic.twitter.com/EoRtSgqWXz
— Yung Poochie Uchiha (@An0n03) June 17, 2018
While his hair was also a major talking point.
Ronaldo's hair cut was one of the worst seen at a World Cup
Neymar: Hold my beer pic.twitter.com/o5pZIRRp7l
— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) June 17, 2018
Was Neymar fouled or did he dive?