Brazil’s Only Hope to Take This World Cup: Win Ugly

“There are three contradictory narratives getting batted around about Brazil’s foul-plagued, back-breaking 2–1 quarterfinal victory over Colombia. The first, one that’s being pushed by the Brazilian press, is that Neymar was assaulted by brutish Colombian defender Juan Camilo Zúñiga, whose late-game challenge was reckless and cowardly. (Sample headlines: ‘Stabbed in the back’ and ‘Damn Colombian.’) An alternate view, one articulated by the New York Times’ Sam Borden among others, is that Brazil got what it had coming. Borden believes that Neymar’s fractured vertebra was the logical conclusion of Brazil’s decision to play a dirty game, and of referee Carlos Velasco Carballo’s refusal to keep the foul-happy Seleção in check. The third perspective, laid out by Forbes’ Bobby McMahon, is that Colombia was the team that came out fouling, that the referee didn’t do much of anything wrong, and that Neymar’s World Cup-ending injury was an unfortunate accident rather than a violent inevitability.” Slate (Video)

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