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Neymar: Referees 'Have to Do Their Job' After Brazil 1-1 Switzerland

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2018

ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA - JUNE 17:   Neymar of Brazil falls to the ground during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at Rostov Arena on June 17, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Neymar has called for referees at the World Cup to "do their job" after he was targeted throughout Brazil's 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Sunday. 

The forward—who recently returned from a broken bone in his foot that kept him out of action from February—was fouled 10 times by the Swiss players during the match, and he said the officials need to make the correct decisions.

"It's not up to me, there are three professionals working there," he said, per Reuters (h/t ESPN FC). "I have to play football, I do not have to worry about it. They have to do their job, and if they did not do it right, their problem."

It was clear the Swiss had a plan to shut the Paris Saint-Germain star down, per ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Neymar was fouled 10 times in this match vs Switzerland, most for any player in a World Cup match since Alan Shearer was fouled 11 times against Tunisia on June 15, 1998. It also is the most fouls suffered for a Brazilian player in a World Cup match since 1966. https://t.co/AZSI1a3gbF

Midfielder Valon Behrami was particularly guilty of fouling Neymar:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Valon Behrami's #WorldCup game by numbers vs. #BRA: 100% aerial duels won 100% take-ons completed 60 touches 44 passes attempted 41 passes completed 6 tackles won 4 fouls committed 2 interceptions Neymar's worst nightmare. 👻 https://t.co/nU28yjv3dK

The Selecao talisman could be seen limping late on, though he insisted it was no cause for concern: "It's nothing to worry about. I'm fine." Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar added he "will be 100 per cent" fit to play Costa Rica on Friday.

Per the Mirror's Steve Bates, Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner felt the referee was too willing to give decisions in Neymar's favour:

"It's very difficult playing him. He's fast, he's technical, you need to keep up with him all the time because he's dangerous. It's a big challenge.

"And I was a little bit worried about the referee. Every time he fell down it was a whistle, a foul so that was a bit of a challenge.

"You think to yourself 'don't be too aggressive' because every time he goes down it's a foul. So because of that I had to be a bit careful."

TOPSHOT - Brazil's forward Neymar (C) falls during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match between Brazil and Switzerland at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don on June 17, 2018. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE
JOE KLAMAR/Getty Images

Brazil manager Tite did not attribute his side's failure to win to the physical treatment they received, or the referee's decision not to give a penalty despite Manuel Akanji putting his arms around Gabriel Jesus in the box.

"I can't coach a team who complains. You can interpret the penalty in any way but there's no way you can complain," he said.

Rather, he felt his team suffered from nerves after they let slip a 1-0 lead from Philippe Coutinho's first-half opener, as Steven Zuber headed home an equaliser five minutes after the break:

"Until we scored the goal there was a lot of pressure. There was a lot of anxiety, too much pressure, and it translated into our way of playing. We were not precise enough.

"We had some good, clean situations but could have been more precise. This kind of anxiety comes from the concern of playing a first game in a World Cup; even the coach is anxious."

It is perhaps unsurprising that Brazil were a little nervous given their last outing at a World Cup saw them humiliated 7-1 by Germany, even if the only surviving members of that team are Marcelo, Paulinho and Willian.

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Steve McManaman was critical of Neymar's performance:

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

It wasn't Neymar's day. https://t.co/ACYWrclMTq

Switzerland's rough treatment did him no favours, though he can likely expect a similar reception against Costa Rica and Serbia, too.

One of his biggest strengths is running with the ball at his feet, but in repeatedly doing so he also gave the Swiss more of an opportunity to bring him down, so, as McManaman noted, he might have benefited from making quick passes rather than charging into danger.

As the star player, Neymar may feel extra pressure to put on a show at this World Cup.

He's surrounded by a lot more talent than he was in 2014, though, so he need not take on all that responsibility himself. He and his team-mates will need to learn from this draw to ensure they're stronger come Friday.