Brazil forward Neymar will need to wait another four years to win the World Cup, however, he is leading the tournament so far with the most time on the grass, almost 15 minutes.
The PSG player hasn't only stood out in this World Cup for the famous "Joga Bonito" emblematic of the Brazilians, but also for the time he has spent lying on the grass, mostly faking an injury to kill some time from the clock. Due to his reputation as a huge flopper, Euronews reports that Swiss broadcasting group RTS tracked the time he spent on the ground on every game of the World Cup; the game against Mexico reaching the highest number with five minutes and 29 seconds, which is a lot, taking into account that the clock in soccer never stops.
The game of the former Barcelona player against Mexico and his reaction after the Mexican defender Miguel Layun stepped on him, this triggered plenty of criticism among the soccer community and a bunch of memes of his acting skills broke the internet, dulling his great performance with a goal and an assist in Verde-Amarela's victory.
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This is not the first time Neymar was called out for the time he spends on the ground, last world cup the Wall Street Journal released a study that exhibits the National team of Brazil as the tournament flopping winners, led by the Paris Saint-Germain star forward. On the other hand, it is important to take into account that Neymar is a player who dribbles a lot at high speed, a style of play that naturally attracts more fouls. Not surprisingly, he is by far the most fouled player in this World Cup, with 25, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi with 15.
Flopping is an old and common a tactic in this sport, whether to kill some time, slow down the rhythm of the opponent, draw cards for the opposing player or get nonexistent penalties. Nonetheless, as we saw in this world cup, the use of VAR (Video Assistance Referee) is starting to make things more difficult for all of the expert fakers, overturning penalty decisions, as was the case for Neymar’s call in the group stage match of Brazil against Costa Rica.