Neymar put on a show! So did Xherdan!

Neymar put on a show! So did Xherdan!

Neymar scored the second injury-time goal in Brazil’s first win of the 2018 World Cup against Costa Rica on Friday.But no-one was discussing that. Instead, everyone was focused on the dives, the audacious showboats and the big cry at the final whistle.

Love him or hate him, the world’s most expensive player always gets people talking.

Neymar followed up Philippe Coutinho’s injury-time opener with a second in the 97th minute by tapping in Douglas Costa’s cross.

It means the 26-year-old Paris St-Germain star has scored 56 goals in 87 matches for his country – only Pele and Ronaldo have scored more.

But the goal itself paled in comparison to a moment of magic skill, when he hooked a dead ball with both feet – or in football speak, a rainbow flick – over the head of Yeltsin Tejeda and left the Costa Rica substitute’s legs in a tangle.

But not everyone was feeling the showboating love. In fact, he was the lowest-scoring Brazil player among BBC Sport users on the player rater with just 3.72 out of 10.

Maybe that’s because of an earlier incident… Neymar denied penalty after VAR review
The impressive backbend and slow-motion fall fooled referee Bjorn Kuipers momentarily before VAR proved Neymar did go down a bit too easily under pressure from Giancarlo Gonzalez.

The public display of emotion
Neymar in tears …It was all too much for the lad at full-time. The whistle blew and Neymar dropped to his knees and sobbed into Russian grass.

Yes, it’s only a group match. But this is the World Cup and he’s from Brazil.

In a passionate Instagram post after the game, the forward wrote: “Not everyone knows what I went through to get here…The crying is of joy, of overcoming, and a will to win.”

Some wanted to give the player a big hug. Others were feeling less generous.

Switzerland took a huge step towards the last 16 of the World Cup as Xherdan Shaqiri scored a brilliant solo 90th-minute winner against Serbia.

The Stoke City player collected the ball near the halfway line before dribbling away from the defence and slotting past Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.

Granit Xhaka had scored a brilliant equaliser for Switzerland after Aleksandar Mitrovic put Serbia in front with a header in the fifth minute.

Serbia, who had a strong claim for a second-half penalty turned down, had dominated the first half, knowing a win would have confirmed their place in the knockout stages.

Switzerland are now level with Brazil on four points at the top of Group E, in second place due to an inferior goal difference.

Xherdan Shaqiri flies the Albanian eagle

They will qualify for the last 16 with a draw against Costa Rica, who have already been eliminated, in their final game.

If Switzerland win, Serbia must beat Brazil in their final game to progress.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka both celebrated by making a nationalist symbol to their Albanian heritage in Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia on Friday at the World Cup.

After scoring in the win, both players put their open hands together with their thumbs locked and fingers outstretched to make what looks like the double-headed eagle displayed on Albania’s national flag.

Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, while Xhaka’s parents are originally from Kosovo and they are of Albanian heritage.

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and relations between the two countries remain tense, though Serbian players did not react to the eagle gestures.

Stoke midfielder Shaqiri was asked about the celebration after the game and put it down to pure emotion at the moment.

[From media reports]

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