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It wasn’t supposed to finish like this.
Brazil had danced into the quarter-finals of the World Cup however their desires of a showpiece jig within the last resulted in tears at Training Metropolis Stadium.
Croatia schooled the Samba stars on penalties to finish hopes of a sixth triumph as they have been dumped out of the competitors by a European nation once more.
It seemed like Neymar can be the hero when he opened the scoring in additional time to equal Pele’s official scoring document for the lads’s nationwide crew however – because the unused fifth penalty taker – he left the sphere in tears after what may very well be his last World Cup match.
After the sport, it was confirmed that boss Tite can be leaving his job, the 61-year-old unable so as to add to his Copa America triumph in 2019, whereas Neymar hinted at worldwide retirement.
“It’s certainly very troublesome,” Tite stated after the loss. “However it’s the finish of my cycle with the Brazil squad. I said that one and half years in the past.”
South American soccer skilled Tim Vickery stated on BBC Radio 5 Reside: “That is dying within the household.
“That’s what it’ll really feel like within the subsequent few hours for Brazil followers. Croatia have despatched the far greater nation into mourning. It will actually damage for a very long time.
“I hope the inhabitants is not going to activate them. Brazil crowds may be vicious. I hope there is not a unfavourable backlash as a result of this crew do not deserve it.”
Ought to Neymar have taken first penalty?
The opening 90 minutes have been engrossing however the sides couldn’t be separated and the competition went into additional time.
Croatia have been there in eight of their previous 9 knockout video games in main tournaments and there was just one consequence thereafter.
Neymar thought he had stood up for his nation once they wanted him probably the most, firing into the roof of the web to complete a slick crew transfer.
The 106th-minute strike was his 77th worldwide aim, drawing him degree with the nice Pele in response to Fifa information.
However Bruno Petkovic’s equaliser 4 minutes from time – which was Croatia’s solely shot on course – salvaged hope of development which they settled on spot-kicks.
It was the opposition that have been dancing this time as a disconsolate Neymar sank to the turf, tears streaming down his cheeks.
He was to be the fifth penalty taker however didn’t get that chance after Marquinhos struck the submit to seal their destiny.
The identical sorrowful ending has occurred earlier than.
At his residence World Cup in 2014 Neymar’s participation was ended by a again harm, and 4 years in the past they have been overwhelmed on the similar stage by Belgium.
Right here he was one of many final gamers to trudge off the pitch, Brazil’s supporters sitting within the stands in disbelief, their hopes in Qatar extinguished.
“Neymar was the fifth as a result of that’s the decisive one,” stated Tite. “There may be extra strain and the gamers who’re extra mentally ready must be ones to take this final penalty kick.”
However former Germany striker Jurgen Klinsmann disagreed on BBC One, saying: “He would have been my primary penalty taker. You want him to set the tone.”
‘Finish of the dream’
Brazil’s World Cup was ended by a European nation for the sixth consecutive match, they usually final beat a facet from that continent within the 2002 last in opposition to Germany.
That was additionally the final of their 5 World Cup triumphs, and it has been 20 years since a non-European facet lifted the trophy.
The statistics make for grim studying for Brazil.
The South American facet have been sluggish starters and have failed to attain within the first half of six of their previous seven matches within the competitors.
Had Vinicius Junior or Neymar put away the alternatives that fell their approach within the opening interval it might have been a unique consequence.
Tite’s males additionally grew to become the primary crew in World Cup historical past to be eradicated from a knockout match wherein they scored the opening aim throughout additional time.
In the meantime, the final time a nation ranked world primary reached the semi-finals was when Brazil did so again in 1998.
“It isn’t solely myself that loses, the whole crew loses,” stated Tite. “We tried to deal with possibilities and ending. Our technique was to extend the amount – we had 19 possibilities and 11 photographs at aim. They may not have one shot on course.
“I perceive I’m probably the most accountable one, however we’re all liable for this loss. That’s soccer. Typically you win, typically you lose.”
Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Twitter: “Brazil labored exhausting. Neymar scored an attractive aim and the crew deserved higher. My respect to the gamers and supervisor.
“Let’s maintain transferring ahead as a result of in life we will by no means quit.”
Brazil web site Globo Esporte bemoaned the ‘finish of the dream’ on its residence web page.
It was for Tite, his gamers and all Brazil supporters.
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