Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Neymar rounded on his critics and defended his emotional reaction to scoring in Brazil’s 2-0 World Cup win over Costa Rica after he broke down in tears at the final whistle.
A largely frustrating afternoon for the five-time world champions was forgotten thanks to two goals in stoppage time.
Philippe Coutinho broke the deadlock before Neymar tapped home with virtually the last kick of the game.
“Not everyone knows what I went through to get here,” he posted on Twitter and Instagram.
“Even parrots can talk, but walking the walk… not everyone does it. I cried out of happiness, overcoming, grit and desire to win.
“Things were never easy in my life, so why would they be now? The dream – no, the OBJECTIVE – is still alive. Congratulations for the performance, guys.”
The world’s most expensive player was making just his fourth appearance after breaking a bone in his foot in February.
And Brazil coach Tite admitted the Paris Saint-Germain star is still not fully match-fit.
“He needs some time to resume his high standard. Before then there is a team that has to be strong and not depend on him.”
Neymar’s emotions at the end highlighted Brazil’s relief at getting their first win of the tournament after being held 1-1 by Switzerland in their opening match.
Tite fell to the floor as he sped onto the pitch following Coutinho’s strike.
However, there is some concern in Brazil that Neymar’s tears are a sign he may struggle to handle the pressure against tougher opposition as the tournament progresses.
“It’s not normal to cry in the second game of a World Cup,” Brazil’s biggest newspaper, O Globo, said.
“A team needs to demonstrate mental strength, not fragility. Genuine or not, Neymar’s crying is worrying.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Bale confirms MLS move to Los Angeles FC
- Bale heading to MLS with LAFC move: reports
- Where to find Austin FC vs. FC Dallas on US TV
- Nominate best soccer coverage across video, audio & written word
- Forest sign Nigeria striker Awoniyi from Union Berlin
- Where to find River Plate vs. Lanús on US TV
- Where to find USWNT vs. Colombia on US TV
- World Cup tickets on sale and in high demand
- Euro hosts England thrash reigning champions Netherlands in friendly
- Man City agree deal for Leeds midfielder Phillips: reports