Let’s stop for a moment to consider this: a player at the FIFA World Cup is on the ground and out of bounds, he is prone and has his feet together, when an opposing player steps with his studs on the right foot of the prone opponent.
Now, let’s just posit that the prone player is the heir to the best-player-on-the-planet label, that he is coming back from right foot surgery, that he has just embarrassed most of the defenders on the opposition with his play, that he is the reason the opposition eventually loses the knockout match, and, oh, yes, that it is his right foot that was operated.
The video of the play is as clear as can be and the zeroing in on the right foot makes it obvious the stomping player is purposefully, deliberately, with ill intention, stomping on the prone player’s recently operated foot, and not the other foot right next to it. And no call is made.
Minutes ensue, and no call is made.
The culprit and his team are getting away with murder!
You then see the prone player rolling around in what is clearly exaggerated playacting to get the attention of one and all. But no call is made. The game resumes and no call has been made. The assault goes unpunished!
Now, what would come to your mind first: that the player blatantly attacked, let alone fouled, has already suffered the most fouls ever in a World Cup game (10 against Switzerland), or that in the given game he was fouled more than all other players on his team combined and that most of those fouls just happened to target his right foot, or that prior to the game the captain of the opposition pointed out to the media that FIFA should be paying attention to that injured player’s playacting, or that subsequent to their loss the opposition’s manager can only blame his team’s loss on the ref and the injured player for subverting the game…or would you consider that maybe all of the above is secondary and what should be the focus is that anyone stomping on any player, let alone when the ball is out of bounds and there is no contest at hand, is simply as criminally unsportsmanlike as you can possibly be? Could we agree that a red card is what should have been given? Could we agree that this is precisely what VAR should be able to mediate?
Or maybe we should all just forget the incident, you know, until it results, say, on a violent kick in the back that nearly paralyzes the same player and thus ends his World Cup, potentially his career, and perhaps prevents him from ever walking again. Oh, yeah, that already happened, to the same player in the last World Cup.
How about paying a bit more attention on what opponents are doing to Neymar, FIFA? How about if the press and the press, and the press, focuses on what is the real issue instead of entertaining their biases? The issue here is not his playacting but the manner in which FIFA officials have allowed the cup to turn into open season on the right foot (injured, operated on, consistently targeted) of the Brazilian star.
Should he be ACCIDENTALLY injured out of the cup the entire tournament will have been a farce.