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Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio didn’t mention him by name. He didn’t explicitly call out Neymar. But before his emotions could fully subside following a 2-0 World Cup Round of 16 loss to Brazil on Monday, Osorio’s message was clear.
“It’s an embarrassment for soccer that so much time was wasted on one player,” Osorio said in Spanish at his postgame news conference. “The officiating was very biased and the players got tired of that.
“It’s not a good example for soccer, and for the world of soccer, for all the kids playing,” Osorio continued, more or less unprompted. “This should be a sport of ability, of determination, a game of men, not of so much clowning.”
Osorio was likely referring to a second-half incident that angered both teams. With Neymar down on the sideline, Mexican midfielder Miguel Layun stood on the Brazilian’s ankle. Neymar made a scene of it. He rolled around in anguish. He received treatment on the side of the field … but, of course, stayed in the game.
Osorio was critical of the referee in general, saying he favored Brazil and protected Brazil’s star players. To some extent, refs have to do exactly that. Neymar has taken a beating in Russia. Without protection, the sport’s best players are susceptible to injury.
Osorio, though, felt Neymar received too much protection. He even blamed officiating in part for Mexico’s performance dip and Brazil’s ascendance between the first and the second half.
But Neymar, in his on-field interview immediately after the game, did have a message for Mexico: “They talked enough before the game, now they’re going home.”
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