Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio took issue with Neymar’s actions on the sideline in the second half of Brazil’s 2-0 World Cup win on Monday, saying it was “shameful” that officials allowed the game to be delayed so long.
Having already given Brazil a 1-0 lead, Neymar was sitting on the pitch after chasing the ball out of play in the 72nd minute. Mexico’s Miguel Layun approached to grab the ball and, in the process, stood on the superstar’s ankle.
Neymar’s reaction drew criticism as he squirmed on the ground for minutes afterward, only to be able to jog back into action when play resumed.
Osorio said the incident halted Mexico’s momentum as they chased an equalising goal, though he didn’t refer to Neymar by name and refused to when asked directly during his news conference. But he was clearly irate by what he perceived as play-acting from Mexico’s opponents.
“We had control of the match, but to me it is just shameful that so much time could be lost over one player,” the Mexico coach said.
“The delay for one player was even four minutes, and that is a lesson for even children who play. This should be a game of men and not so much clowning around.”
Neymar, who was also the subject of mockery for rolling over an excessive number of times after being fouled during a group-stage draw with Switzerland, insisted that Layun’s action was unsporting.
“They stepped on me; that wasn’t fair. You can’t do that,” the Brazilian star said on TV Globo after the match. “They talked a lot but now they’re going home.”
Layun insisted he didn’t intentionally step on Neymar, and the Mexico wing-back made clear his opinion of his opponent’s reaction.
“In the end, it’s football. If he doesn’t want to be touched then he should do something else,” Layun said. “If he wants to be on the floor he should go lie down in his house.
“I touched him a little, but it was because when I went to collect the ball he tried to half-block me so I couldn’t. I wasn’t even looking at him. I was looking at the ball.
“The referee even told me that, ‘We’ve looked at it and it’s not been a situation that you did with the intention of touching him.'”
Mexico veteran Rafa Marquez, playing in his final match at age 39, said Neymar’s writhing didn’t come as a surprise.
“We know Neymar very well, we know his character and playing attitude and it is peculiar,” Marquez said.
Brazil coach Tite defended his player, saying: “Neymar hasn’t done anything. They have stepped on him. He just has to play, when it’s a situation about refereeing that’s [the coaches’] responsibility to talk about it.”
Asked about Osorio’s comments on his players’ behaviour, Tite said Mexico’s frustrations detracted from an admirable display in defeat.
“It has been a great match, with many goal opportunities, in which Mexico has done a great performance,” the Brazil coach said. “But when you lose, that generates frustration and this kind of comments, I think we have to focus more on what happened in the match and less on those comments.”
Osorio also criticised Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi for ruling too often for Brazil, though he admitted his team lacked the finishing touch needed to find a goal.
“The game totally favoured Brazil. Too many interventions from the referee,” Osorio said. “I saw a very even match and Mexico had a good game, but we were not effective in the last third of the field.
“Mexico started well. A good start. We didn’t take advantage of the goal opportunities that we created and when you face a team like them, you can’t miss in front of the goal.”
Information from ESPN FC’s Tom Marshall was used in this report.