Neymar urged to stop acting, win titles to get Federation Internationale de Football Association award

Virginia Santiago
July 5, 2018

Even though Neymar was highly instrumental in Brazil's round-of-16 win over Mexico, he is being severely criticised for overreacting in the wake of what seemed to be not-so-harsh tackles.

"We wasted a lot of time because of one single player... we lost our style in the second half, because of the referee".

Eric Dier's spot-kick gave England their first-ever win on penalties at a World Cup at the fourth attempt - ending the jinx that has dogged them for so long. "It's complicated. We're facing the best team in the world. For me, he is a candidate (for the best player award), Mbappe is a candidate", said Matthaus.

"The fact that we could play on equal terms against a team like Brazil speaks very well of our attitude, but we lacked efficiency and that extra quality they have in the last third of the field", said Osorio, noting that all Brazil's players are based with top clubs. "We survived it, we have gone through and that is the most important thing".

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For Friday's match, the tactics might be simpler.

Four of Mexico's second-round eliminations have come against clearly superior teams: twice against Argentina (2006 and 2010), once against Germany (1998) and now Brazil. England beat Colombia 4-3 on penalties in a bad-tempered game that was nearly constantly interrupted with referee Mark Geiger booking six Colombians and two English players. "We are not talking about a system but understanding what we must do when we have possession", the coach added. They then filed into the locker room to change.

Real Madrid's Casemiro will be missed due to suspension, but boasting arguably the best squad in the tournament, Brazil have a ready made replacement to screen the back four in Fernandinho of Manchester City.

Martinez now faces a tricky decision concerning his line-up with Nacer Chadli and Marouane Fellaini pressing for starts after coming off the bench against Japan to turn the game around in the last half an hour. I need to help my teammates, help my team.

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I think it's a shame for football, he said, adding that Neymar's antics had wasted precious time.

The opprobrium heaped on the 26-year old has prompted a counter-reaction from fans, who, with some justification, believe Neymar is more sinned against than sinner.

After himself suffering two injury-plagued years, an emotional Zuniga said: "Today I'm thinking about my future, my family".

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To some, the Australian trio's punishments were harsh, to others, they were nowhere near severe enough. It's those things we miss. "I was making terrible decisions and I just felt frightful at the crease".

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