Neymar’s ‘play’ within play takes some sheen off Brazil’s win over Mexico

Mexico crashed out of the World Cup after conceding two goals to Brazil at Samara Arena on Monday in one of their worst performances in the tournament.

They surrendered meekly, maybe, because of the unusually hot afternoon in Samara or Brazilian star Neymar’s  (pictured) histrionics to distract them.

The team that beat Germany 1-0 in the group stage lacked the spirit, energy, cohesion and ideas they exhibited at Luzhniki Stadium.

Both the goals by Brazil could have been prevented had the Mexican defenders been quick enough to position themselves at the right post to back their keeper when Willian and Neymar were about to send their close-range crosses in the 51st and 89th minute.

When Willian’s cross went past the Mexican keeper, three Brazilian forwards were racing towards the post to put the ball in. Neymar, who was among them, did that job.

Neymar fell at the touchline in the 70th minute following a tussle with Miguel Layun. The Mexican player approached him to pick up the ball from between his legs for a throw-in. To everyone’s surprise, Neymar suddenly started rolling along the touchline as if writhing in pain. Layun seemed to have stamped on his ankle.

The referee rejected Neymar’s appeal for foul and the Brazilian star was back on his feet.

In the 89th minute, capitalising on a Layun error, Neymar took possession of the ball and raced towards the left side of the Mexican box to send a pinpoint cross to the Brazilian forwards.

Mexican defenders repeated the mistake they made early in the second half by being too slow to reach their post. Substitute Roberto Firmino tapped it home for the second goal for Brazil.

Later, Neymar told reporters that the talk about his theatrics is only an attempt to undermine him. But he had done this  act earlier too during Brazil’s match with Serbia.