Neymar had a rough start to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Against Switzerland he was pounded with repeated fouls in an eventual disappointing draw. Against Costa Rica, the Concacaf side frustrated Neymar and his teammates for 90 minutes, Brazil’s star man even attempting an ill-fated flop or two. In the end, thanks in part to Philippe Coutinho, Brazil prevailed and we got to see some sweet Neymar skills in the final minutes.
Brazil struggled to break down Los Ticos until Coutinho’s 91st-minute goal. Brazil was clearly exasperated, unable to find a way through the determined Costa Ricans. Neymar twice went down in the box looking for a penalty.
At one point Neymar flung himself to the ground in the box before realizing, mid-flight, his flop was never going to convince the referee and thus immediately popped back up. In the 78th minute, Neymar was awarded a penalty, only for VAR to correctly take it away as the PSG forward wasn’t hit nearly hard enough to fall as hard as he did.
Despite those two embarrassing moments, there were plenty of Neymar skills on display against Costa Rica. The pick of the bunch was this rainbow over a Ticos defender as Brazil looked to kill off the dying moments of the match.
Wonderfully brilliant skill by #Neymar!!! I greatly appreciate how he still plays the game like it was street futebol. #Tekkers #JogaBonito #BRACRC #BRAxCRC #SelecaoBrasileira #BRA pic.twitter.com/mw1UG0Tr7G— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) June 22, 2018
Love him or hate him, Neymar is one of the few players in the world who could pull off that move at the World Cup.
Neymar also pulled off this little flick past a defender in the first half before being taken down with one of three fouls he suffered in the opening 22 minutes.
Fortunately, the referee for the Brazil-Costa Rica match was better prepared for rough play than the referee for the Brazil-Switzerland match, when Neymar was fouled 10 times.
In addition to those lovely Neymar skills, Brazil’s No. 10 also bagged himself his first goal of the tournament, putting Costa Rica away in the 97th minute.
The hard-fought result was enough to bring Neymar to tears after the match, a show of what this tournament means to Brazil’s most important citizen.