- Brazil was held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland on Sunday in their first 2018 World Cup match.
- The match was full of fouls – 30 in total – 10 of which were directed at Brazil’s superstar striker Neymar Jr.
- Neymar’s 10 fouls make him the most fouled World Cup player in 20 years.
World Cup favourites Brazil took on underdogs Switzerland on Sunday.
It was all going Brazil’s way in the first half as Philippe Coutinho’s sparkling, long-range effort gave the South American’s the lead at 20 minutes.
However, the Brazilian script was unravelled as Steven Zuber headed home a corner cross to level the playing field.
Despite the valiant effort from the Swiss to cling on to a 1-1 draw, the match was marred somewhat by a high volume of fouls. Most of the hard tackles were directed at Brazil’s talisman striker, Neymar Jr.
Neymar was on the receiving end of no less than 10 fouls during the match – the most of any World Cup player since England’s Alan Shearer was fouled 11 times against Tunisia 20 years ago.
It was also the most fouls suffered by a Brazilian in a World Cup match since 1966, ESPN reports.
Throughout the game, Neymar was taken down again…
… And again…
… And again.
Neymar’s ability means he is often a target of malicious defending. In 2014, the Brazilian was forced to make an early exit from the World Cup hosted by his own country when a vicious tackle fractured a vertebra in his spine in the quarterfinals against Colombia.
Brazil would go on to lose 7-1 to Germany in the semi-final without Neymar – one of the most humbling defeats in the competition’s history.
While some commentators argued that the illegal tackles showed the Swiss defence couldn’t handle Neymar’s mercurial pace and control…
— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) June 17, 2018
Looks like the Switzerland strategy vs @neymarjr was similar to @nfl Press-Man teams jamming and holding beyond the 5-yard contact zone.. Play the odds that the refs won’t call every foul.. That’s how the @Seahawks used to do it with the “LOB” #WorldCup
— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) June 17, 2018
… Others said it was proof that his ostentatious style of play could be undone.
Neymar plays selfishly though.. he cost his team aswell. Like dude, If the whole defence is on you… You NEED to pass the ball or you cause loss of possession.. Neymar wanted to just shine
— Rouge (@Rouge_Rapper) June 17, 2018
“Despite hobbling away after becoming the most fouled player at a World Cup in 20 years, Neymar’s performance borderlined on a schoolboy level as he tore Brazil’s tactics apart,” The Independent’s chief football writer Miguel Delaney wrote.
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