Neymar and the “curse” of the World Cups

Brazil does not resist Croatia, loses on penalties and says goodbye to the World Cup in Qatar; Neymar will have to wait until 2026. Will he play?
Josué Seixas
2022-12-16 16:09:31
analysis by Rodrigo Alcântara

Neymar arrived in Qatar with confidence at the top. After a great season at PSG, the number 10 of the Brazilian National Team thought that now would be his big moment. Even though he already has the Confederations Cup, Copa America and Olympic Gold on his resumé, the World Cup is still a dream.

Before joining the team for the Cup, the star returned before PSG’s vacation and made a special preparation to arrive in Qatar at his peak, quite different from what happened in Russia, when he had to race against time to recover from an injury to the fifth metatarsal of his right foot.

However, all his optimism and that of the fans disappeared right at the premiere. In the second half of the match against Serbia, Neymar suffered a sprained right ankle, left the field in a lot of pain and was out of the other two games in the group stage, against Switzerland and Cameroon.

After a quick recovery, he returned in the round of 16 and was very important for Tite’s team to thrash South Korea 4-1 and guarantee a place in the quarterfinals of the Cup, against Croatia. However, perhaps still in pain, he did not yield what he could against Modric’s team, and saw Brazil eliminated from the field once again from the Cup.

Neymar and the Cups

In the 2014 World Cup, Neymar took a knee from the Colombian Zuñiga in the back, in the quarterfinals, and could not face Germany in the semifinals. He ran the risk of losing leg movements if the injury was in a nearby region.

In the 2018 World Cup, in Russia, he was not injured, but not 100%, after surgery on the fifth metatarsal of his right foot. In addition to not performing as expected, the playmaker became a worldwide laughing stock for the various simulations of fouls and supposedly pretending to be in pain, in bids that were not even fouled.

In 2022, “flying”, he arrived well, but soon got injured, and could not help Brazil to win the long-awaited sixth world championship.

Let’s see what will happen four years from now, with the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.