The Disappointment of the Neymar Era in Brazil


Neymar is one of the greatest soccer (or football) players of his generation. He represents the greatest soccer nation of all time: Brazil. Brazil was home to legends like Pele and Ronaldo (R9) and both of those legends won the World Cup with Brazil. But Neymar has never won the World Cup. In fact, he’s never made a final. His first World Cup was in 2014 on his home ground in Brazil. Brazil dominated their group and beat Chile on penalties in the Round of 16. They then won their Quarterfinal match against Colombia. But it came at the worst cost. Neymar was kneed by Colombia’s Juan Camilio Zuniga and broke a vertebra in his back. This knocked him out of the World Cup and if the knee hit somewhere else it would’ve ended his soccer career. Without the superstar, Brazil would lose their semi-final match to Germany 7-1. This was one of the most embarrassing losses in FIFA history. A 7-1 loss on home grounds is just unbelievable.

Then came the 2018 World Cup. Brazil again made it out of their group and made it past the Round of 16 by beating Mexico. But this time they couldn’t get to the semi-finals. They lost their Quarterfinal game against Belgium. Belgium took a 2-0 lead early and Brazil was only able to score one goal. Brazil once again came up short.

And that brings us to the 2022 World Cup. Brazil were the favorites and they looked like it. They once again made it out of groups highlighted by a goal of the tournament worthy goal by Richarlison. However, Neymar got injured in the opener. Despite this setback, Neymar was still able to play in the knockout stages. Their Round of 16 game was a 4-1 dismantling of South Korea. Their Quarterfinal game against Croatia was expected to be a solid Brazil victory. However, the opposite happened. In the first 90 minutes neither team scored, but in the 105th Neymar scored an amazing goal to give Brazil a 1-0 lead. This should’ve been the winner, but in the final minutes of the game, Croatia’s Bruno Petkovic scored the equalizer. This sent the game into penalties. Croatia did not miss their 4 penalties while their goal-keeper Dominik Livakovic turned into a brick wall saving 2/4 penalties. Brazil’s 4th penalty was a must make to have a chance to continue, but the shot from Marquinhos hit the post and the favorites were out. Croatia led by Luka Modric just sent the favorites home.

Neymar claimed that this would be his final World Cup, which closes an amazing but disappointing chapter for Brazil. They experienced the highs of winning the 2016 Rio Olympics and the lows of their 7-1 semi-final loss in 2014, in addition to the amazing play of Neymar Jr. However, Neymar will always be remembered as the 3rd best of his generation, always overshadowed by the great Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He will be remembered as the Brazilian superstar that was unable to bring the World Cup trophy to Brazil.