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Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Belgium fans made drinking game out of Neymar’s diving

Neymar has faced a ton of criticism during the World Cup for his diving antics, but a large group of Belgium fans have decided to take the high road. Well, if you want to call it that.

If the Facebook group is any indication, thousands of fans on Friday took part in a drinking game centered around how often Neymar takes a dive. The name of the group, which is written in Dutch, translates to “Bottoms up when Neymar falls.” The description is quite simple:

“Every time Neymar falls to the ground you have to drink.”

Belgium and Brazil did battle in a World Cup quarterfinal match on Friday, and 10,000 fans had responded that they were “going” to the Neymar drinking game Facebook event with another 27,000 saying they were “interested.” While there’s no actual event to attend, you can bet there were plenty of Belgium fans taking part in bars and elsewhere.

Neymar has already been roasted on Twitter for some of the dives he has taken, so it’s no surprise Belgium fans got in on the fun. Kudos to them for putting a unique spin on it.

H/T VICE Sports

Neymar claims critics are trying to ‘undermine’ him after flopping criticism

Neymar is defiant in the face of criticisms over his style of play, particularly accusations that he oversells contact on fouls.

The Brazilian star was criticized in many quarters for his reaction to being stepped on during his side’s 2-0 victory over Mexico. Neymar didn’t respond directly to the accusations, dismissing them as “an attempt to undermine me.”

“I think it’s more an attempt to undermine me than anything else,” Neymar said, via Jonathan Wilson of the Guardian. “I don’t much care for criticism, not even for praise because this can influence in a way the athlete’s attitude. In the last two matches I didn’t talk to the press because there are too many people talking, getting excited. I don’t know if they’re showing off. I am here to win with my teammates.”

In other words, Neymar thinks the critics are full of nonsense. Ultimately it’s up to the referee to decide what actions are acceptable or not acceptable. The opposing manager isn’t happy about anything that transpired, but Neymar won and he got the decisions as well. Nobody should expect him to apologize.

Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani gets good injury news ahead of France clash

Uruguay badly needs Edinson Cavani fit to give themselves a better chance against France in the World Cup quarterfinal, but they got some decent news on that front Monday.

In a statement released by the Uruguayan Football Association, it was confirmed that Cavani did not have a calf tear, but was dealing with significant swelling. That said, the lack of a tear means he at least has a chance to play Friday against France.

“The player remains in pain. He will continue to do individual work and rehabilitation. His evolution is being monitored,” the statement read, via Adriana Garcia of ESPN. “The rest of the squad is fine.”

Cavani scored both of Uruguay’s goals in their 2-1 win over Portugal in the Round of 16. Luis Suarez will have a lot on his shoulders if Cavani cannot suit up.

Mexico manager hammers Neymar, referee for ‘fake fouls’

Mexico was knocked out of the FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 loss to Brazil on Monday, but their manager thinks there was more than meets the eye to the result.

Manager Juan Carlos Osorio blasted both Neymar and Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi, feeling that “fake fouls” were a factor in disrupting the game.

“We played quite well and had 53% possession so I think we did control the game mostly,” Osorio said, via Steve Bates of the Mirror. “Unfortunately it’s a shame we wasted so much time for one player. It’s a shame for football. The referee gave too many fake fouls. I am entitled to give my opinion but I didn’t mention him by name. There was very little contact and every single time the referee stops the game.

“We lost our style due to the referee giving too much stoppage time. My players got more and more tired because of that situation. Once, the game was stopped for four minutes and that’s very negative for the game of football and children around the world who are playing the game. It’s a man’s sport and there shouldn’t be so much acting. That had an impact on our pace.”

Neymar was widely criticized for his play-acting on Twitter, and the criticism was deserved. That said, linking it to the result may be a stretch. Brazil created more chances and played well enough to win with their superior talent, so while frustrating, Neymar’s theatrics don’t really hold water as an excuse.

Twitter roasts Neymar for reaction to having ankle stepped on

Neymar was on the receiving end of a possible cheap shot from a Mexican player during Monday’s match between Mexico and Brazil, and he worked as hard as he possibly could to have the play result in a yellow or red card. It didn’t work, and he looked no worse for the wear after returning to action.

The play came midway through the second half, when Neymar had his right ankle stepped on during a dead ball. He immediately began rolling around on the turf as if he had just snapped a limb.

The FOX broadcasting group thought the play should have been reviewed and resulted in a possible red card, but no card was given. After a few minutes of being tended to by Brazil’s training staff, Neymar returned to play as if nothing had happened. Twitter absolutely unloaded him.

Neymar is widely known for diving and theatrics, which is why the reactions were so harsh. A play that had originally resulted in a penalty kick was actually overturned earlier in the World Cup after one of Neymar’s epic flops, so the officials on Monday probably chose not to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic welcomes LeBron to LA with boastful tweet

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic welcomed LeBron James to Los Angeles with a boastful tweet.

Zlatan, who recently joined the Los Angeles Galaxy, tweeted his welcome to LeBron by referring to himself as a “God” and LeBron as “King.”

The Swedish soccer star came to Los Angeles to play in MLS. He made his Galaxy debut on March 31 and has already been a big hit. He was a major star in Europe, having previously played for Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. A few months later, it’s LeBron coming to LA to play for the Lakers.

When you factor in that the Rams and Chargers have both moved to LA, UCLA has Chip Kelly, and the Angels signed Shohei Ohtani, well Southern California has no shortage of star power these days.

Twitter reacts to wild penalty shootout in Croatia-Denmark game

For the second time on Sunday, a World Cup match went to a penalty shootout to decide the winner, and there’s an argument to be made that it was even wilder than the first one.

Croatia ultimately beat Denmark, and Twitter loved every second of a penalty shootout that went back and forth, with both goalkeepers making big saves — and setting a record in the process.

Particular praise was reserved for Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. His father Peter was a top-level goalkeeper for many years, and while Denmark fell, Schmeichel saved two penalties during the shootout as well as one in extra time.

Twitter also had lots of thoughts on both goalkeepers staying on their lines — as well as the quality of some of the misses.

While the result wasn’t as shocking as the early game’s, it was certainly just as exciting, if not moreso.

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