Brazil failed to a win an opening World Cup match for the first time since 1982, drawing 1-1 with Switzerland. In the match, Neymar hit the ground 10 times on plays that were called fouls (and other times when no foul was called). Switzerland ended up getting three yellow cards and no red cards during the match, all yellows coming on challenges against Neymar. One involved a slap across the face after a shoulder grab, and another a lengthy grabbing and pulling on Neymar’s shirt near the top of the box.
Alexi Lalas was not happy with the officials or the way that Switzerland played. He called it “a disgraceful performance by the referee and by Switzerland” and said they “tried to kill him tonight.”
That said, it’s on the referee to determine how much fouling is too much beyond the specific action of the foul (all yellows were largely earned based on what happened on that play, and not a result of foul accumulation, it seemed). Switzerland was going to do what it took, and slow down Neymar. Back in 1990, Cameroon fouled Diego Maradona excessively, got red carded, and still won a match against the Argentinian star. It’s the World Cup and teams are going to do whatever it takes to advance. Switzerland got a huge point and now needs to likely beat Serbia to advance.