Russia World Cup Brazil vs Costa Rica: Neymar's tears worry Brazil
12:00 AM, June 23, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:09 PM, June 23, 2018

Neymar's tears worry Brazil

Brazilians watched their team's hard-fought win Friday over Costa Rica in a cold sweat but it was Neymar's hot tears that really made the footballing-mad nation sit up.

"Neymar's crying is the big news," declared the Blog do Menon on the leading UOL Esporte website.

The world's most expensive footballer had just scored the second of Brazil's two extra-time goals and getting a monkey off the star-studded team's back. At the final whistle, the striker -- described as a genius by his coach Tite and a petulant brat by his many detractors -- sank to the turf, sobbing.

"It's one of the big images of the World Cup: Neymar, alone, collapsed and in floods of tears," the UOL esporte blog said. "These were the tears of a football player. The tears of someone who cares."

In this interpretation, Neymar's 97th minute goal was the moment when the PSG goal machine finally got his groove -- and the much-hyped Brazil team along with him.

But what if that much emotion after beating a supposedly far inferior team points to crackups yet to come?

"It's not normal to cry in the second game of a World Cup," Brazil's biggest newspaper, O Globo, headlined the main article on its website after the drama.

While acknowledging that Neymar has had a torrid buildup to the tournament, with surgery for a broken foot bone and a hugely disappointing first game against Switzerland, Globo said the tears were just too much.

"A team needs to demonstrate mental strength, not fragility. Genuine or not, Neymar's crying is worrying," Globo said. "It was either the symptom of troubling instability or it was a return of Neymar's narcissism that Neymar had managed to control so well for nearly the whole match."

And while Brazilians at live screenings of the game around the country erupted in joy at the win, there was withering criticism of Neymar for his apparently over-theatrical fall in front of the Costa Rican goal -- leading to a penalty being overturned on VAR analysis.

"His artistic gesture cost Brazil the penalty," Globo TV commentator Galvao Bueno said on air.

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