Tournament favorites Brazil are out of the World Cup after losing 4-2 on penalties to Croatia.
Brazil crashed out of the World Cup on Friday evening after suffering from the same tactic that cost Mohamed Salah and Egypt the Africa Cup of Nations.
Neymar delivered the breakthrough for Brazil against Croatia in extra time, only for Bruno Petkovic to strike three minutes from the end of proceedings to force penalties.
Converting all four of their spot-kicks taken, Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Luka Modric, and Mislav Orsic were all on target from 12 yards, and Croatia was not even required to take their fifth effort due to their opponents seeing Rodrygo’s shot saved and Marquinhos hit the post.
It is understood Neymar was due to be his county’s fifth and final penalty taker but was denied this opportunity after PSG center-back Marquinhos failed to find the back of the net. The same scenario occurred back in February as Senegal was crowned Africa Cup of Nations champions at the expense of Egypt and Salah.
The Liverpool talisman was, like Neymar, last on the list of penalty-takers and missed out on testing his luck after Sadio Mane sealed a 4-2 win on penalties by slotting past Gabaski. Many have questioned why sides choose to leave players with a greater potential of stepping up to score as fifth in line, a conversation that has come to the fore once again after Brazil’s shock World Cup exit.
Weighing in on this debate on the BBC after the full-time whistle, ex-Germany international Jurgen Klinsmann said: “There are totally different approaches obviously for managers. You always say let the best penalty taker take the first one – you can set the tone. Don’t keep them for the fifth one basically because you might not get the chance to take it. For me, Neymar would be the No. 1 penalty taker. Set the tone; it calms everybody down. The momentum shifted after the Croatia equaliser before the end of the extra-time.
“What goes through your mind then because you suddenly get scared, you know the whole nation is waiting and you start to panic in your mind. You’re then far more nervous, you don’t have any time to relax and balance yourself out.”