Brazil's talisman striker was fouled more times than any World Cup player in 20 years in their first match

Buda Mendes / Getty ImagesNeymar Jr of Brazil goes down injured during the 2018 World Cup Russia match between Brazil and Switzerland.
  • 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…

Blerim Dzemaili of Switzerland tackles Neymar Jr who is also under pressure from Brazil whilst Denis Zakaria of Switzerland during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at Rostov Arena on June 17, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

… And again…

Valon Behrami of Switzerland fouls Neymar Jr of Brazil during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at Rostov Arena on June 17, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

… And again.

Neymar of Brazil lies on the pitch during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at Rostov Arena on June 17, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Catherine Ivill / Getty Images

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…

… Others said it was proof that his ostentatious style of play could be undone.

“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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