Neymar somehow avoids red card after chest bumping referee
Brazil became the fourth team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup on Thursday night, beating Colombia 1-0 thanks to a Lucas Paqueta goal in the 72nd minute. The Seleçao join hosts Qatar, Germany and Denmark among the first teams to secure their place at the tournament, which will kick off on November 21st next year.
Neymar was, of course, front and centre of the spectacle against Colombia, making the all important assist for the goal and donning a cowboy hat during the celebrations afterwards as he danced on the pitch.
But the Paris Saint-Germain forward was fortunate to have finished the game, after he bumped chests with the referee in a display of aggression that would surely have seen any other player sent off.
The incident occurred just seven minutes into the game, as Neymar bemoaned the referee not giving a foul in Brazil's favour.
(1:06 onwards in the video below.)
The commentator remarked: "He often plays as if he believes he should have a different set of rules. He's lucky for me."
Meanwhile on social media, one Twitter user, Jack De Larrinaga, posted the clip, saying: "I’m sorry, but how can Neymar get away with doing this to the referee?? He really is a spoiled brat, isn’t he? And the referee seems scared of him."
It is difficult to dismiss the idea that Neymar's profile influence the referee's inaction in this case, while the time on the clock will also have played a factor - officials will never want to send a player off so early on, potentially ruining the competition. There has to be an understanding of the highly strung emotions in such matches.
There is of course something of a backstory here, after Neymar was carried off on a stretcher during Brazil's win over Colombia in the 2014 World Cup, having been kicked in the back by Juan Camilo Zúñiga.
Still, calm down Ney.