Brazil's run at the 2022 World Cup is over earlier than anyone expected, and no one on the field felt that harder than Neymar.
The Brazilian star was visibly heartbroken after his country's shocking loss to Croatia in Qatar. For a while, it looked like he would be the hero after he broke a scoreless tie with a wild goal in extra time, but Croatia got the equalizer in the 117th minute.
Penalty kicks followed, with Croatia pulling out the win and advancing to the semifinals for the second straight tournament. Brazil, meanwhile, was eliminated in the quarterfinals for the fourth time in the last five World Cups.
It was a rough end for the pre-tournament favorites, and the emotion of the moment left Neymar sitting down and crying as his teammates tried to console him. That heartbreak, however, led to one of the most wholesome moments of the tournament, when a child, later identified as Croatian winger Ivan Perisic's son Leo, ran over to give a message to his father's opponent.
The kid was initially stopped by security, but was let through by Neymar for a handshake and a hug.
🚨 Lovely moment as a child from the celebrating Croatia squad - looks like Ivan Perisic family - runs over to console Neymar after #HRV shock Brazil to end #BRA dream of 1st #FIFAWorldCup since 2002 & record-extending 6th titlehttps://t.co/cyXMYoPulg@TheAthleticFC #Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/HU2tZthP82
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) December 9, 2022
That's what events like the World Cup are all about.
Brazil's loss means the country will go at least 24 years without a championship, tied for their longest drought since they captured their first title in 1958. That leaves the 30-year-old Neymar in a position all too familiar to his former teammate Lionel Messi, a star of a country's generation who has yet to win the top international title.
The loss also means Neymar will fall short of surpassing Pelé as Brazil's all-time leading goal scorer this year. His extra-time goal tied him atop the list with Pelé at 77.
Neymar figures to get his next shot at the combined U.S.-Mexico-Canada tournament in 2028. Croatia, meanwhile, will face Argentina on Tuesday after Messi and his teammates pulled out their own win on penalty kicks against the Netherlands on Friday.