World Cup 2018: 5 forwards who flattered to deceive in the group stage
After almost a fortnight of non-stop, nerve-jangling action of World Cup games, we're through with the round-robin phase and the knock-out stages are upon us.
The Russian showpiece has lived up to every bit of the billing, as we've witnessed a helluva ride over the course of the 48 games. There have been shocks, thrills, some absolute wow moments that has treated us, and with the elimination rounds looming large, there's definitely more in store.
However, unlike the pre-tournament prognosis and predictions, there are some players who have failed to live up to the expectations so far. Many great things were expected of them in the build considering their stellar club campaign, but it hasn't gone according to the plan for these players, who've either struggled or been downright poor, much to the dismay of the fans who eagerly awaited to witness their magic on the stage.
Here are the 5 such players who've flattered to deceive in the group stages:
#5 Neymar (Brazil)
Yes, he did score against Costa Rica. Yes, he did assist against Serbia. But Neymar's overall gameplay has been disappointing and way below his best. There's absolutely no denying that. The PSG star has clearly toiled to make an impression so far. Apart from a few moments of his trickeries on the ball - really few actually - there has been little about Neymar's performance that was exciting to watch.
The Brazilian is found holding on to the ball for uncharacteristically long whilst his shots have lacked the usual bite. He was largely anonymous against Switzerland and until he scored against Costa Rica (which actually was an offside goal and shouldn't have stood), was comfortably kept at arm's length by their stout defence.
To make matters worse, his theatrics have really exasperated the fans. He broke into an ocean of tears after the second game only to be ignored by his team-mates for a really long time and the 30-yard roll for a feather touch tackle by Adam Ljajic triggered an avalanche of trolls and memes on the social media.
Neymar's World Cup so far has provided everything but a good performance backed by some quality goals. But if Brazil are to go all the way, he needs to get his scoring boots on and start firing again.