Brazil’s quarterfinal loss to Croatia marked the end of its 2022 FIFA World Cup run.
It also might have been the end of an era.
Brazilian superstar Neymar wouldn’t commit to playing for the national team again following Friday’s stunning penalty shootout loss.
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“Honestly, I do not know. I think talking now is bad because of the heat of the moment. Maybe I’m not thinking straight,” the 30-year-old Neymar told reporters, via ESPN. “To say that this is the end would be rushing myself, but I don’t guarantee anything either. Let’s see what happens going forward.
“I want to take this time to think about it, think about what I want for myself. I will not close the door to playing with Brazil, nor do I say 100% that I’ll come back.”
Neymar and Brazil quickly went from jubilation to heartbreak against Croatia. In the first half of extra time, Neymar broke a 0-0 deadlock with a stoppage-time goal. Not only did the score put Brazil ahead, but it also brought Neymar into a tie with Pele atop the men’s national team’s all-time scoring list with 77 goals.
FIFA’s No. 1-ranked side couldn’t protect the lead though, as Bruno Petković equalized for Croatia in the 117th minute.
Neymar was assigned as the fifth penalty taker as the match moved into a shootout, but the PSG winger never got a chance to step up to the spot. Rodrygo had his penalty kick saved by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and Marquinhos hit the post on his attempt, while Croatia converted its first four kicks to win 4-2.
Neymar was visibly emotional after having his World Cup dreams dashed for the third time, and a second consecutive time in the quarterfinals.
Neymar has tallied 77 goals and 56 assists in 124 appearances for Brazil. While he hasn’t been able to help Brazil capture its first World Cup title since 2002, Neymar has helped his country earn other pieces of hardware. He was part of the 2013 team that won the Confederations Cup and the 2016 team that captured Olympic gold on home soil.