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(BBC) – Brazil forward Neymar has defended himself against accusations he over-acted after a challenge during the 2-0 World Cup last-16 win over Mexico, saying: “I just feel the pain.”
Neymar, 26, reacted strongly to an incident in which Mexcio’s Miguel Layun seemed to stand on his ankle.
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio said the Paris St-Germain player’s “acting” is “not a good example for football”.
But Neymar said: “It’s complicated. It’s not something I can control.”
He added: “I got stepped on unfairly. I think it was off the ball, outside the game. I don’t think it should be done.
“But that’s the thing, they talked too much before the game – and now they’re going home.”
Neymar scored one goal and played a key role in the other as his side set up a quarter-final against Belgium, who beat Japan 3-2 later on Monday.
However, he has faced accusations of diving at this year’s World Cup.
Osorio said the incident with Layun halted Mexico’s momentum as they chased the game following Neymar’s opening goal, and that referee Gianluca Rocchi “favoured Brazil”.
“It is a shame for football, we wasted a lot of time because of one player,” said the Mexico boss after his side’s loss.
“This is a game of men that is played with intensity and not with so much clowning.
“It is a shame for all the people watching, all the children watching. There shouldn’t be acting. I think this had an impact on our pace and style.
“The game totally favoured Brazil. Too many interventions from the referee.”
Neymar, who was given the lowest score by users of the BBC Player Rater, said the Brazilian players “have to learn to suffer”.
“I don’t care much for criticism, or praise, because this can influence your attitude,” Neymar told TV Globo. “I think it’s more an attempt to undermine me than anything else.”
Brazil coach Tite defended his player and insisted Layun “stepped on him”.
“I saw it on the screen,” said Tite. “In the previous match, he was excellent and here he repeated a high-quality performance,” he added.
Former England striker Alan Shearer on BBC One: “It was absolutely pathetic. There is no doubting his ability, we saw a backheel, a finish and setting up of the second goal but it is pathetic when he is rolling around pretending to be in agony. Why does he feel the need to do that?”
Former Germany striker Jurgen Klinsmann: “If you look at the whole game, how many fouls were there on Neymar? Loads. Was he overreacting for the Layun challenge? Absolutely, but Layun steps on him.”
BBC World Service Sport’s John Bennett in Samara: “The best and worst of Neymar rolled (pun intended) into one. He created some of the old magic in Samara and is clearly regaining match fitness step by step but yet again his performance will be overshadowed by his theatrics and he’ll make the headlines for the wrong reasons.”
“In Neymar’s defence he has been fouled more than any other player at this World Cup and he is regularly the target of rough treatment.
“Plus, let’s not forget that in the incident that got everyone talking, Miguel Layun did step on his ankle. Despite that, though, the reaction leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It was just unnecessary.”
“With Lionel Messi gone and Cristiano Ronaldo gone, you could argue that Neymar is the biggest star left in this tournament. I just hope it’s his football skills we’re talking about after the quarter-finals, not his amateur dramatics.”
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